10 stories that restored our faith in humanity in 2015
Evan Leversage, 7, rides on Santa's sleigh during an early Christmas parade in St. George, Ont. Saturday October 24, 2015. His story is one of 10 Canadian news stories from 2015 that will restore your faith in humanity.
Sonja Puzic, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Thursday, December 31, 2015 7:29AM EST
With tragedy and terror dominating global headlines this year, it was often difficult to see the bright side of the world we live in. Thankfully, there were plenty of heartwarming tales to balance out the stories of violence and despair.
Here are 10 Canadian news stories from 2015 that will restore your faith in humanity:
A birthday to remember
When an Ontario boy’s invitations to his birthday party went unanswered in March, his mother turned to Facebook for help. In a short time, Odin Camus, who has Asperger’s syndrome, received birthday messages from across the country and hundreds of people – most of them strangers – showed up at a local bowling alley to give the teen gifts and hugs.
An early Christmas for a dying boy
Canadians were saddened and inspired by the story of seven-year-old Evan Leversage, a terminally-ill boy whose small Ontario town organized a Christmas parade in October so that he could experience the holiday one last time. The entire town of St. George was awash in early Christmas cheer and even Santa Claus made an appearance. Evan succumbed to an inoperable brain tumour a few weeks later.
Act of kindness goes viral
An Ottawa bus driver said he was just doing his job when he helped commuters board his vehicle after a major winter storm. But the video of a coatless Carlo Difelice disembarking the bus to lend a hand to every passenger went viral, and earned the driver an official commendation from his employer.
Taking on bullies
A Newfoundland teen won support around the world for her poignant response to anonymous bullies who ranked her in an "ugliest girl in high school" poll. Grade 12 student Lynelle Cantwell took on her bullies in a Facebook post, telling them to "get a life.”
"I'm sorry that you don't get to know me as a person,” she wrote. Cantwell’s post prompted messages from strangers around the world who said she was setting a great example for young women everywhere.
Boy’s got mail
A Nova Scotia boy with autism received thousands of letters from around the world for his birthday, after his sister made the request on Facebook. Kristian Hayes celebrated his 11th birthday with family, cake and more than 4,000 letters.
Home built with love
An entire community came together last spring to build a new house for a Chateauguay, Que., family that lost everything in a fire. “It’s the most beautiful house I have ever seen, for sure,” the new homeowner, Chantal Clement said. “And it's full of love.”
Skate park pep talk
An Ontario woman posted an open letter to an anonymous teenage boy this fall, thanking him for helping break down gender barriers for her young daughter at a local skate park. Jeanean Thomas said her daughter Peyton, 6, had always wanted to take up skateboarding but had been intimidated by the lack of girls she saw on the streets. But one day at the park, a boy who looked to be about 15 took the time to chat with Peyton about her skateboarding skills and offer some helpful tips.
From homeless to Harvard-bound
A once-homeless Toronto woman raised more than $60,000 for her Ivy League education earlier this year. Toni Morgan, 32, was a high school drop-out who spent four years bouncing between shelters. But she persevered and was eventually accepted to Harvard University. When she realized that she couldn’t afford the tuition, she set up a crowdfunding campaign online, raising $60,000 from people who wanted to see her succeed.
Paying it forward
An Ontario man whose family arrived in Canada as refugees more than three decades ago said he wanted to honour his parents’ sacrifices – and Canada’s generosity – by sponsoring 14 Syrian refugees this year. Trieu Nguyen, an engineer from Hamilton, Ont., said he and his wife decided to sponsor a family with 12 children. They are fundraising money online to help support the refugees for a year.
The ‘soul’ of a troubled neighbourhood
Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is usually associated with poverty, crime and addiction, but one cop challenged that stereotype with a YouTube video posted in July. Staff Sgt. Mark Horsley went undercover, disguising himself as a paralyzed man with a brain injury in a motorized wheelchair. He was attempting to crack down on violent crimes on people in wheelchairs, but said he encountered nothing but good-hearted people who wanted to help him out.