The week’s good news: August 6, 2020

1.
To raise money for cancer research, Andrew Walker and Jacob Adkins traded in their ice skates for rollerblades and hit the road. Walker and Adkins are hockey players at the University of Massachusetts Boston. They wanted to do something during the pandemic to help others, and came up with a way to raise money and awareness for the American Cancer Society: They would rollerblade from Boston to Mason, Michigan, a nearly 900-mile journey. Cancer has affected both of them personally, with Adkins’ mother in remission after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Walker’s grandfather dying of the disease. Adkins and Walker — who dubbed themselves the Men in Blades — completed their trek in 10 days, arriving in Mason late last month and raising $28,100. “This experience has humbled both of us and has made us just that much more grateful for the people around us and that much more loving,” Adkins told WHDH.

2.
Wildlife officials in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park were thrilled last month when they discovered that two babies had been born to separate groups of gorillas. Both families are comfortable in the presence of humans, and the newborns are part of a “baby boom in the protected forest popular with tourists,” The Associated Press reports. Mountain gorillas were on the “critically endangered” list, but were moved to the less severe “endangered” list in 2018, thanks to conservation efforts. There are roughly 1,000 mountain gorillas living in Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda, the highest figure ever recorded, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature says. A beloved gorilla named Rafiki was killed inside Bwindi in June, and Bashir Hangi, a spokesman for Uganda Wildlife Authority, said the births are “a sign of relief.” [The Associated Press]

3.
The money Meena Kumar earns as a pet-sitter isn’t spent on new clothes or the latest electronics — all of it goes straight to the Muttville Senior Dog Rescue. The 14-year-old animal lover lives in San Jose, California, and first learned about Muttville five years ago. To support the organization, Kumar launched a pet-sitting business called Pet Fairy Services, and so far has donated $14,000. Kumar was born in India, and at nine months old, was found abandoned in a basket on a college campus. She spent the next year in an orphanage, before being adopted. Because of her past, Kumar said she can empathize with the dogs she helps. “It feels great to know that I’ve saved many dogs’ lives and given them another chance to enjoy life for their last years of living,” she told Today. “I feel like all dogs should get a forever home just like I did.” [Today]

4.
At age 93, Giuseppe Paterno gave himself a pep talk, and it was the push he needed to go back to school. Paterno, a retired railway worker, lives in Palermo, Italy. Growing up, his family was poor, and he only received a basic education. An avid reader his entire life, he earned his high school degree at age 31, and in 2017, finally decided to enroll in college. “I said, ‘That’s it, now or never,'” Paterno told Reuters. He signed up for history and philosophy classes at the University of Palermo, using a typewriter for his assignments. Last week, the 96-year-old grandfather graduated first in his class with top honors, becoming Italy’s oldest ever university graduate. He may be finished with school, but Paterno’s not done learning, and plans on spending his days writing and revisiting “all the texts I didn’t have a chance to explore further.” [Reuters]

5.
Thanks to some help from the Sugar Sisters, the Little Sistas will be able to serve up more of their dessert creations. Zyaire Hawkins, 11, and Charl’Les Hawkins, 9, came up with a recipe for ice cream cones filled with cheesecake, and in June, the sisters from Highlands Ranch, Colorado, started their own business, Little Sistas Treats. Their mom, Marietta Hawkins, went to the Sugar Sisters Bakery in Castle Rock to pick up a cake, and told owners Molly Witt and Rebekah Lydon about her daughters. She asked if she could bring the girls in one day to get some tips and see what their business might turn into, and when they came to visit, they were shocked to learn that Witt and Lydon were giving them a gift of $1,015 to get Little Sistas Treats off the ground. “The Little Sistas and the Sugar Sisters,” Lydon said. “It was just meant to be.” [KMGH]