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David Bruce: The Kindest People: Heroes and Good Samaritans (Volume 3) (Free PDF)

1. Needs of Others and Ourselves

Rabbi Israel Lipkin Salanter once preached a sermon about our concerns regarding body and soul, saying that all too often, we are concerned about the needs of our body and the needs of the soul of our neighbor. However, the opposite should be true. We should be concerned about the needs of our soul and the needs of the body of our neighbor.

2. “I’ve Lived My Life”

Stacie Crimm, age 41, who is from Ryan, Oklahoma, did not think that she was able to conceive a child, and she was both surprised and happy when she became pregnant. But a few months after she became pregnant, she learned that she had head and neck cancer. Chemotherapy would give her a chance a life, but it would risk the life of the girl she was carrying. She opted not to have the chemotherapy in order to protect the fetus growing inside her, saying, “I’ve lived my life.” The cancer was aggressive, and in August 2011 she fell at home and was taken to a hospital where doctors performed a C-section. Her daughter, Dottie Mae, was 10 weeks premature and weighed only two pounds. Shortly afterward, Stacey fell into a coma and three days after the C-section she died. Her brother, Ray Phillips and his wife, Jennifer, will take care of Stacey’s daughter. He remembers when she called him after discovering that she had cancer: “She called me crying. She would say, ‘I’m not going to live long enough to have this baby.’” Before she died, she did get to hold her daughter, who had been taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Nurses wanted her to see and hold the daughter for whom she had given so much, so they wheeled Dottie Mae in an incubator to Ms. Crimm’s bed in the hospital and put her on Ms. Crimm’s chest. A nurse said, “It was just one of those things you know you have to do.” Her brother saw her hold her baby. He said that she “lifted up her hands and just held her and just looked at her and smiled.” He added, “I felt like it was probably the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen in my life.”

3. A Killer Joke

In August 2010, British comedian Eddie Stapleton, age 77, was onstage in the Welsh holiday resort of Tenby telling jokes about snakes when he suffered a heart attack and collapsed. Fortunately, Guy Jackson, from Stourbridge, England, realized what was happening and gave him CPR. Mr. Jackson said, “He was getting to the punchline at the end of a monologue about snakes, when he suddenly keeled over sideways and crashed through an exit door. My initial reaction was that it couldn’t be part of the monologue — and I ran forward to help. It was obvious that he wasn’t breathing and he was turning blue. I just automatically started CPR.” Mr. Jackson had learned first aid because his job is transporting prisoners for private security firm Reliance. He said, “Life is precious as far as I am concerned, and I wasn’t prepared to give in. I am just so glad that my company is so keen on First Aid training for staff, and that I took note of what I was taught.” Mr. Stapleton said, “I just keeled over, and the doctors later told me if Guy Jackson hadn’t stepped in I would have been a goner. Guy gave me CPR and got my heart going before the paramedics arrived. I will always be grateful for that. I came close to dying onstage in the middle of my act, just like comedy legend Tommy Cooper.” (Mr. Cooper died live on British TV of a heart attack in front of millions of television viewers.) Mr. Jackson said about an upcoming meeting between him and Mr. Stapleton, “He’s warned me he had a cracked rib because of the CPR I gave him — and he now he wants revenge!”

4. A Red-Carpet Guest

On 10 December 2009, University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow attended the 2009 Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show at Walt Disney World. As he walked the red carpet, at his side and holding on to his arm was a fan: 20-year-old Kelly Faughnan of Clifton, Virginia. Ms. Faughnan had recently had surgery for a brain tumor, which left her body with a tremor. After her surgery, she asked her parents to take her to Walt Disney World, where she hoped to meet Mr. Tebow. There, she wore a button expressing admiration for Mr. Tebow. She also met him, he liked her, and he asked her to walk the red carpet with him.

  1. Jeremy Shockey: Hero

In August 2011, NFL player Jeremy Shockey saved the life of his Carolina Panthers teammate and fellow tight end Ben Hartsock, who was choking on a piece of pork tenderloin. Mr. Hartsock tried drinking water, but that did not work. His Chicago-based agent, Mike McCartney, said that “he couldn’t breathe. Some new guy came and tried to give him the Heimlich. It didn’t work. Then, Shockey hit him in the back pretty hard and out came the meat. The Panthers told me it was really scary. Ben told me Shockey came over and gave me the Heimlich maneuver and saved my life. He was in good spirits and he’s real thankful for Shockey.” Mr. Hartsock was teased good-naturedly during practice, as his teammates occasionally told him, “Don’t choke, Hartsock.” Writer Brad Biggs pointed out, “The story serves as a good reminder that it’s important to know how to administer the Heimlich because you never know when a friend or teammate could be in need.”

  1. 6. Jack Meets a Soccer Hero

In March 2008 in Newcastle, England’s General Hospital, eight-year-old Jack Close underwent a bone marrow transplant to cure a blood condition with the scientific name chronic granulomatous disorder, which was rendering his immune system unable to fight off infections. A soccer [European football] fan, Jack was extremely happy when star footballer Steven Taylor of Newcastle United stopped by to visit him and give him a bag of goodies, including black-and-white clothing and a soccer-match program that Mr. Taylor had signed. Mr. Taylor said. “When I come here, I realize how fortunate I am. Footballers get little kicks and niggles and complain about them. When you meet Jack and hear what he has been through, you realize how brave he is. It puts things into perspective massively, what he has had to go through, and it really inspires me to see it. But he’s a Geordie [a native of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England], he’llbe fine.” Jack’s mother, Laura, age 39, who works as a dinner lady, said, “His little face lit up when we told him Stephen Taylor was coming. He was in the football club at school, but obviously he had to stop that. He’s been really poorly for the last week, but today his temperature is normal and he’s not been sick. This has really perked him up. He has been getting cards and presents through the post from people who don’t even know him, saying how brave he has been and how handsome he is. He’s taken it all in his stride.” Jack’s father, Bryce, age 48, a taxi driver, said, “When he gets out [of the hospital], he will have to stay inside for three months. All his friends will be playing football outside, so that will be very hard for him. But this will be his claim to fame. He will tell all his mates he has met Steven Taylor. We’ve only ever been to one match, but when he’s better we will take him to more.” Earlier, the Evening Chronicle of Newcastle had organized a bone-marrow-donor drive in order to find a match for Jack.



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