Call it the feel-good flavor of the day. One story of bravery, kindness or generosity can take the world by storm, but in this 24/7 news cycle, most heroes only get five minutes of fame.
What happens when the cameras stop rolling? What does a brush with fame do to a good person? Is it possible that it makes their lives, dare we say, better? We decided to find out.
The woman who heard herself speak for the first time wants to help children who can't hear. And the wheelchair-bound Ohio teen who scored a touchdown for his high school team is now a local hero, who believes that a disability doesn't have to limit him.
Here are other more examples of how shining a light on good news today may just lead to a brighter tomorrow.
What Happened: Back in September, Sarah Churman's video of her hearing her own voice for the first time in 29 years lit a viral fire through the Internet. The video, shot by her husband Sloan, shows what's known as the Esteem hearing implant being tested out on Sarah before the surgery. The second the implant is turned on, Sarah's face crumbles with emotion. Where Is She Now: After all the press following the video's viral explosion, Sarah is set to get the Esteem hearing implant for her other ear -- free of charge this Friday, January 13. Since the video, Sarah has appeared everywhere from -- the Ellen DeGeneres show to New York Ink, where she had them tattoo a heart behind her ear. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Sarah said hearing her children for the first time was the most powerful part of having the implant. "You miss out on so much, and the morning after I was on the kitchen floor just bawling," she said. "It just broke my heart thinking about all the people out there missing it like I did." Sarah said that the experience has opened the door to many different opportunities, and shown her that, one day, she'd like to work with parents and children with hearing disabilities.
What Happened: When faced with district-wide budget cuts, Fresno Superintendent Larry Powell gave up his salary -- a total of $800,000. Since his office didn't send out a press release or publicize the donation, it took days for the news to get out. When it did, however, people from all over the world contacted him to laud his decision. Where Is He Now: With the money, the Fresno school district was able to plug the holes many feared would remain open. It funded arts programs, allowed preschools to stay open, and maintained funding for programs against bullying and school violence. "We're facing tough budget times," Powell told The Huffington Post. "With the money we were able to put away, we will able to survive the budget cuts." Powell's act has sparked good deeds around the country. "A number of my colleagues have called me to ask how they could follow suit," he said in a phone interview. "So I think in 2012 you're going to see a lot of folks do something similar." Out of all the recognition, Powell says the most powerful response was when a high school student from Ohio wrote him to say that he had restored his faith in elected officials. "That made the whole thing worthwhile," Powell said. "A young person knows there are some people out there that do the right thing."
What Happened: Reagan, a yellow Labrador, found a bag stuffed with a litter of kittens on a rural Iowa highway. She dragged the bag home and whined until his owner opened it. The bag had been run over but two kittens -- Skipper and Tipper -- had managed to survive. Reagan's heroism prompted an avalanche of media coverage. Where They Are Now: Reagan has become something of a local hero with his own Facebook page. Skipper and Tipper weren't initially expected to survive, but made it through after Des Moines' Raccoon Valley Animal Sanctuary nursed them back to health. The sanctuary received a flood of adoption requests and donations. "We received requests from as far as Australia and New Zealand," says Joe Pundzak, president of Raccoon Valley's board. But instead of sending the kittens overseas, the sanctuary used the opportunity to encourage people to adopt from their local shelters. "We told them that they'd probably find a Skipper and Tipper story in their own neighborhoods," he told The Huffington Post. Consequently, Skipper and Tipper ended up facilitating dozens of animal adoptions around the world. Today, the kittens have found a new home - right in Iowa. The foster parent who brought them back to health ended up deciding to put in a formal adoption request. "Skipper and Tipper found their way deep into my soul at a time that I apparently needed to be reminded of the basics of life," she said in a letter on Raccoon Valley's site.
What Happened: Trent Glaze, an Ohio junior with muscular dystrophy and a passion for football, went out on the field in his wheelchair and scored a touchdown for his team. The incident was caught on camera. The media jumped on the story and the video of Glaze on the field, who was also the team captain, went viral. Where Is He Now: Glaze has since become a local hero, with letters of appreciation pouring into his home and school. People often recognize him on the street. "It's wild. I totally wasn't expecting all the attention. We just thought it would be cool for me to be on the field," he told The Huffington Post. The experience has taught him that life doesn't have to be limited because he's in a wheelchair. "I can still do whatever I want if I put my mind to it," he says. When he graduates, Glaze hopes to work in the emergency services.
What Happened: In August last year, 62-year-old New York subway clerk Marty Goodman thwarted a suicide attempt by cutting off power at the 86th street station after the man refused to move from the tracks. News channels got wind of the story and Goodman was soon hailed as a hero. Where Is He Now: Soon after the incident, the MTA decided to present Goodman with an award for his bravery. But Goodman, who has long been a union activist and a critic of the MTA decided to accept the award only in order to return it in protest at a later date. "Over 900 people were laid off last year in a racist and dismissive fashion. I needed to protest that," Goodman tells The Huffington Post. He took the award to an MTA board meeting in December and read out a speech lambasting the organization. "After my speech, I said I would now like to return this award. I left the podium and two guys pounced on me, turned me around, grabbed the award and shoved me out the door," he says. His actions helped reinvigorate the fight for better worker rights inside the MTA.