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Website’s DNA test helps woman abandoned as an infant find long-lost family members

An online DNA kit is starting to help a woman piece together her past and has reunited her with long-lost family members.

Toni DiPina was 9 months old when someone left her abandoned in a St. Louis vacant lot in May 1963, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

For years, she has tried to find out her past. She didn’t even know her real birthday, or her birth name. She was named Antoinette Baker by a social worker and doctors gave her a birthday based on her size. 

>> Read more trending news 

She lived in eight foster homes by the time she reached 18 and had 16 different social workers.

The Post-Dispatch reported that, some of those foster homes were difficult. One woman was blind and wouldn’t leave her chair or even her home. One of her foster brothers died because of malnourishment. DiPina got though it all thanks to her church. She also was placed in a home where she was physically and sexually abused for five months. 

After the horrors she endured in the foster system, once she was an adult she was given a chance to move to Massachusetts and be a nanny for five boys. She would also be able to take college classes. She ended up getting her degree, getting married, having children and eventually followed her calling and became a pastor, The Post-Dispatch reported.

DiPina decided to take an online DNA test, urged by a professor she met at seminary.

Eventually, her test came up with a link to that of Ryne Awkard. DiPina’s test said he was a second cousin. Eventually his mother Rosetta took the DNA test. It came back that she and DiPina are first cousins, The Post-Dispatch reported.

They recently met face-to-face at St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

As they share family, as well as their own, stories, they’re trying to figure out which of Awkard’s aunts or uncles was DiPina’s parent and are hoping more members of Awkard’s family will take the test to get the answer they want to find.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

“I keep thinking that if my mom had known there is no way this would have happened,” Awkard told the St. Louis Post Dispatch. “We would have taken her in, no question. She didn’t have to go through any of that. And to know that someone in my own family did this -- I have a lot of anger.”

Click here to read more about DiPina’s and Awkard’s reunion and their stories.

Linebacker with one hand does 20 bench press reps at NFL combine

Give Shaquem Griffin a challenge, and he meets it head-on. The former University of Central Florida linebacker has been silencing critics for years, and his effort at Saturday’s NFL combine was no exception.

>> Read more trending news

Griffin, who was born with amniotic band syndrome and had his left hand amputated when he was 4 years old, did 20 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press Saturday, ESPN reported.

According to the NFL, Griffin is trying to become the first player with one hand to be drafted during the modern era, ESPN reported.

Griffin used a black prosthetic device that was affixed to his left forearm during the event, The Tampa Bay Times reported. He said the most reps he had completed at that weight had been 11, Sports Illustrated reported. But when he heard that an NFL general manager would be content to see Griffin do just five reps, the St. Petersburg, Florida, native rose to the challenge.

"My goal was six (repetitions),” Griffin told ESPN with a smile. “I think I beat that by a lot. When I first got to training, I did like 11 reps. ... Just being able to do that, that was amazing. Hearing the crowd and having the juices flowing, I felt it ... I didn't know I had it in me, but it came out (Saturday).

“People didn't think I'd be able to do it, and him just saying five (reps), I mean, five to me is just warming up,” Griffin told the Times.

At last year’s combine, Griffin’s twin brother, Shaquill, did 17 reps in the bench press, Sports Illustrated reported. Shaquill Griffin was drafted in the third round by Seattle in 2017.

Some draft experts see Shaquem Griffin as a third-day pick in this year’s NFL draft. The 6-foot-1, 227-pounder prepared for the combine and wrote an open letter to NFL general managers so they could learn his story, the Times reported.

Griffin was a two-year starter at UCF and a first-team All-American Athletic Conference selection in both seasons, ESPN reported. In 2016 he was AAC’s defensive player of the year, collecting 92 tackles and 11.5 sacks. He also forced two fumbles and had an interception.

Jacksonville State center from Lithuania reunited with mother after 5 years 

A college basketball senior from Lithuania was reunited with his mother for the first time in five years, thanks to his coaches at Jacksonville State University, People reported.

>> Read more trending news

Norbertas Giga, a senior for the Gamecocks, had been invited to watch film with the coaching staff in a hotel conference room Tuesday as the team from Alabama prepared to play in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament. 

Giga was told by the coaches that video cameras were present simply to document the team’s postseason run, People reported. Assistant coach Chase Richardson begins the session by asking the 7-footer about his mother’s discipline tactics.

“What did your mom used to tell you about belt whippings? You need them?” Richardson asks Giga. “When’s the last time you had one?”

“Oh man, that was about eight years ago?” Giga said.

Richardson walked to a door near the film screen and told Giga, “I’m tired of belt-whipping you myself. So we got the real thing for you.”

Richardson opened the door and Giga’s mother walked into the room. Giga ran to the opposite side of the room in disbelief, then returns to give his mother a teary embrace.

Giga has been a two-year starter for the Gamecocks since arriving at the school in 2016, CBS Sports reported. Prior to that he spent a season at the junior college level at Midland College and Tallahassee Community College and a year at St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark, New Jersey, CBS Sports reported.

A HUGE Thank You to everybody that was involved in this surprise for me. I can’t even explain how much it means and how this moment feels to me,” Giga wrote on Twitter. “THANK YOU! We are Gamecocks!”

The surprise was not enough to help Giga spark Jacksonville to an OVC title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. After defeating Tennessee Tech 73-70 on Thursday, the fourth-seeded Gamecocks lost 70-63 to top-seeded Murray State in the conference semifinals Friday night, ESPN reported.

John Legend, Chrissy Teigen donate $25,000 to Parkland shooting survivors’ March for Our Lives

Celebrity couple John Legend and Chrissy Teigen are joining the likes of Oprah Winfrey and George and Amal Clooney in supporting survivors of the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting.

The Blast reported that the singer and his cookbook author and TV personality wife donated $25,000 to March for Our Lives, the group started by some survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

>> Read more trending news 

“We support the students,” Legend told The Associated Press Feb. 27. “We’re proud of the students. We’ve already sent them money. We sent them $25,000 to help with whatever costs they have for organizing, and we believe that our gun culture needs to change in America.”

On Feb. 14, a 19-year-old former student opened fire at the school, killing 17 people and injuring many others. He has been changed with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

Classes resumed at the school Wednesday.

Related: George, Amal Clooney donate $500,000 to Parkland shooting survivors, Oprah Winfrey matches amount

On Feb. 18, survivors David Hogg, Alex Wind, Cameron Kasky, Jacqueline Coren and Emma Gonzalez announced a March 24 event in which students and supporters of March for Our Lives will march on Washington, D.C., for stricter gun laws.

The Clooneys announced they would participate in the march and donate $500,000 to the group Feb. 20. Winfrey later said she would match that donation. 

“We stand out among other major countries in the world when it comes to these types of massacres, but also in the everyday gun violence that people have to deal with,” Legend told The AP. “I don’t think that we should accept that as normal. I think we’ve decided that everyone having unfettered access to guns is more important than all of us being safe, and I think we need to reshape that balance a bit so that we’re all more safe.”

“I’m glad these kids from Parkland are saying, ‘Enough is enough,’ and we support them,” Legend said.

Florida nurse adopts severely abused twin girls

Two toddlers who were severely abused have found a home with a Florida nurse who is showing them unconditional love.

>> Read more trending news

At the age of 1, twin sisters Delilah and Caroline were admitted to Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville for a non-accidental trauma.

Jess Hamm, a nurse at the hospital, knew instinctively she was in love when she first met Delilah in the pediatric intensive care unit.

“My heart was broken. I don’t want to cry. She was just so lifeless, but she still held onto my finger,” Hamm said.

Delilah had broken bones, a skull fracture and was severely malnourished. At 14 months old, Hamm said Delilah couldn’t sit up or hold a bottle because she was too weak.

“I was like ‘oh my gosh, I’m going to take her home,’” Hamm said.

Hamm went through the proper channels within the Florida Department of Children and Families to adopt; in the process, she learned Delilah had a sister named Caroline who was also in the hospital. Her blessing of one child became even sweeter. She adopted both girls.

“They’ve been through so much. They’re completely different kids. If you had met them when I met them you’d be amazed,” Hamm said.

Their days are now spent singing songs and seeking out new discoveries. Through encouragement, consistent meals, and unconditional love, the twins are thriving and meeting their developmental goals.

The twins have different personalities. Caroline is the social butterfly; she enjoys helping others, and is very protective of her sister. At 2 years old, Delilah loves turning on the charm and sharing kisses with everybody. Once Delilah finds something she enjoys, she can entertain herself for a long time.

Hamm always wanted to be a mom. She never knew adoption was the right choice until she met these girls.

“I hope when people hear my story it opens them up to the possibilities of adopting,” Hamm said.

Her days are filled with unexpected adventures and lots of kisses from these sisters who fill her heart with joy.

Ohio woman's photo showing teens' acts of kindness goes viral

An Ohio woman was so impressed by three teenagers’ acts of kindness, she posted a photo on Facebook and complimented them. The Feb. 25 post and photo by Jenna Steele of Toledo has since gone viral and has been viewed by more than 68,000 people, WJW reported.

>> Read more trending news

Steele wrote that the three teens, riding in a car, pulled into a local gas station.

“They all got out, and one by one they took their wallets out and handed this homeless man some cash,” Steele wrote, adding that the boys also shook the man’s hand.

“Let’s stop giving attention to the youth that do these horrible acts and start giving attention to THESE kind of kids,” Steele wrote. 

Donald Glover meets Girl Scout who sang ‘Redbone,’ buys 113 boxes of cookies

Childish Gambino, aka Donald Glover, met a special Girl Scout who used his song, “Redbone,” to sell cookies in a viral video on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” Wednesday night.

>> Read more trending news 

Charity Joy went viral last week when the Duluth, Georgia, girl and her father, Seymore Harrison Jr. creatively remixed Glover’s song to sell Girl Scout cookies. 

Late-night host Stephen Colbert was so impressed with the video -- which has more than 4.5 million views -- that he invited Charity Joy, 6, and her father onto the show, where they got to meet Glover.

“I never was like, ‘I’ll make this, and then one day a little girl will sell Girl Scout cookies to it,’ Glover said. “It’s pretty great. A lot of people sent (the video) to me. I was really touched.”Before they got to meet, Colbert asked Glover for his thoughts on the video.

Related: Georgia dad, daughter sing their way to more Girl Scout cookie sales

Charity Joy had to sell 113 more boxes of cookies to meet her goal, and Glover bought them all.

Colbert then brought out a basket full of Thin Mints -- Charity Joy’s favorite -- and helped the Girl Scout, her father and Glover hand out boxes to the audience.

Watch Charity Joy’s appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” at the 7:25 mark at the video below.

'We'll carry you': Students’ active shooter plan for teacher in wheelchair goes viral

The day after a gunman killed 17 students and staff at a Florida high school, Ohio schoolteacher Marissa Schimmoeller was particularly emotional. 

It was the first time Schimmoeller, a first-year English language arts teacher at Delphos Jefferson High School in Delphos, had to face her students in the immediate aftermath of such a tragedy. And she knew the question she dreaded most would come. 

Soon after class began, it did, Schimmoeller shared in a Facebook post later that afternoon.

“Mrs. Schimmoeller,” a freshman girl asked. “What will we do if a shooter comes in your room?”

Schimmoeller, who uses a wheelchair due to cerebral palsy, wrote that her stomach sank as she began her planned speech about the plan in place in the event of an active shooter. Then came the hardest part. 

“I want you to know that I care deeply about each and every one of you and that I will do everything I can to protect you,” Schimmoeller wrote that she told her students. “But, being in a wheelchair, I will not be able to protect you the way an able-bodied teacher will. And if there is a chance for you to escape, I want you to go. Do not worry about me. Your safety is my number one priority.”

The students were silent for a few moments as her words sank in, Schimmoeller wrote. Then another student raised her hand.

“Mrs. Schimmoeller, we already talked about it. If anything happens, we are going to carry you,” the girl said, according to Schimmoeller

Schimmoeller said she “lost it” when she realized that her students already had their own plan in place to protect her. 

“With tears in my eyes as I type this, I want my friends and family to know that I understand that it is hard to find the good in the world, especially after a tragedy like the one that we have watched unfold, but there is good. True goodness,” the teacher wrote. “It was found in the hearts of my students today.”

Schimmoeller’s post almost immediately went viral, with more than 25,000 people sharing it on their own pages. Since then, the 24-year-old teacher has done interviews with media from Ohio to Ireland. 

Schimmoeller told “Today” that she felt the need to tell her story because she knew that other people shared her anger over the violence they were witnessing and needed a reminder that good exists in the world.

“When I was in front of those amazing kids as they told me they would carry me out of our building if, God forbid, we were faced with a situation like the one in Florida, it occurred to me that every child, every one of my students, is so full of light and goodness,” Schimmoeller said

Schimmoeller also did an interview with Cork’s 96FM in Cork, Ireland, in which she spoke about her disability and how it played into the fear surrounding school shootings.  

“I think students are a little on edge, especially with the violence in Florida and it being shared on social media through videos of the survivors, and I think the fear is a real one,” Schimmoeller said in the interview

She said, however, that she wrote her Facebook post to focus instead on the goodness and positivity she sees at work every day. She said she initially worried about whether she could be an effective teacher from a wheelchair, but that her students are always willing to help her by passing out papers to the class or writing on the board.

>> Read more trending news

Schimmoeller said that in the aftermath of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day, she pondered how she would make her students feel safe when she feared her own limitations. 

“I realized that, my freshmen especially being new to this building, we should review the … training we’ve all undergone. I also wanted to make clear to them that I would do everything in my power to keep them safe,” Schimmoeller said. “Because ultimately, I think some of their instinct was to protect me, being that I am in a more vulnerable position.”

She said she wanted students to know that their first instinct should be to see to their own safety. 

“I’m sure that my co-workers and staff at the school would keep me safe, but it was up to me to make sure that (the students) knew that my priority was their safety,” she said. “And if worse comes to worse, I wanted them to leave me because their safety is more important than my own.”

She told the students she would die for them, and went over with them ways in which they could use her chair’s wheels as weapons against an armed intruder, Schimmoeller told the radio station

Regarding her students’ reaction to her speech, Schimmoeller said she was overcome by their willingness to risk themselves to save her.  

“I started to cry when I thought about how incredible it is that these young people who I’ve known only since August were willing to do that for me,” she said

Schimmoeller said her first-period students were not the only ones to show compassion that day. She gave the same talk in all of her classes, and one student offered to give her a “piggyback ride” if need be. 

Other students said it would not be OK if anything happened to her. 

“I had one student say, ‘Well, Mrs. Schimmoeller, nothing can happen to you,” she said. The world needs more Mrs. Schimmoellers. Who’s going to be there to teach kids like me?”

“And that really touched my heart, and I think that’s what drove me to write the Facebook post.”

The public’s response to Schimmoeller’s viral post was worldwide, with commenters praising the young teacher for the inspiration she is to her students. 

“There are teachers that make a difference in our children’s lives, and you most surely are one of them,” one woman wrote. “Thank you from a parent in Missouri.”

“Marissa, you are an amazing teacher to be able to inspire your student,” a man wrote. “Fantastic. Touched our hearts down here in Australia. Keep up your great work.”

Others praised the students. 

“Way to go, DJHS students,” another woman wrote. “A testament to you, your families and your teacher. Thanks for reminding the world that we should take care of each other.”

Dolly Parton donates 100 millionth children’s book to Library of Congress in late father’s memory

Dolly Parton took over the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday for a ceremony to dedicate a copy of her children’s book, “Coat of Many Colors,” as the 100 millionth book donated from her organization, the Imagination Library. The children’s literacy program mails free books around the world from the time children are born until they reach kindergarten.

>> Read more trending news 

“I always like to say that 100 million books have led to 100 million stories,” Parton said in a news release Wednesday. “I am so honored that our little program has now grown to such a point that we can partner with the Library of Congress to bring even more stories to children across the country.”

“This is one of the most precious things and the proudest I am of any program that I’ve ever been involved in in my life, is working with the little kids,” Parton said at the event Tuesday.

The Imagination Library started out as a small program in Parton’s native Sevier County in Tennessee. She was inspired to mail out books to kids in the area after watching her father, Lee, struggle with the fact that he never learned to read or write.

“My dad was a very hardworking man. He grew up in a family of 14 or 15 kids, and my dad never had a chance to go to school,” Parton said. “Daddy couldn’t read or write, but he was the smartest person I’ve ever known. I wanted to do something special for him. As the years went by, I saw how he thought he couldn’t learn to read after he was grown. It was just one of those things. So, I had the idea to do something special for him.”

Parton said at the event that the only book her family had in their house when she was growing up was the Bible, and her inspiration for launching the Imagination Library comes from Ephesians 6:2-3. The verse that says,  “’Honor your father and mother’— which is the first commandment with a promise — so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the Earth.”

“In the Bible, where it talks about honoring your father and mother, I don’t think that necessarily means to obey them,” Parton said. “I think it means to bring honor to their name, if you can.”

Lee Parton, who died in 2000, lived long enough to see the Imagination Library become a success.

“(Daddy) took such pride in the fact that the little kids called me ‘The Book Lady.’ He was prouder of that than anything,” Parton said. “So it started from a true place in my heart, and it’s done so much good for so many people through the years.”

Parton is living proof of the power of reading. At age 72, she credits her love of books with keeping her mind sharp and helping her create her music and other projects.

“I do some of my best thinking when I’m reading,” Parton said. “I read at least 52 books a year. About a book a week, I try to read. I’ve just always been a reader. There’s a part of my brain that can kind of think of other things while I actually am reading. It does relax my body, and I’ve always just loved to read. I think, with kids, too, with the books that they read, it kind of inspires you to dream. If you can dream, that’ll lead you to success and to other things. That’s why I think it’s so important to get the books in the hands of all these special little kids so they can start early.”

More information on Dolly’s Imagination Library can be found at

Kentucky man pulls huge catfish out of flooded yard

Fishermen have been known to tell tales about catching a big one, but a Kentucky man has some proof.

>> Read more trending news

In Shepherdsville, located south of Louisville, Robert Watkins pulled a huge catfish out of the flooded waters that have been plaguing the Ohio River basin. According to Louisville Patch, when the Salt River in Bullitt County overflowed, Watkins, a constable in the county’s first district, was ready.

Watkins lives next to the Salt River Bridge, and the water level has risen so high that his yard is completely flooded, WDRB reported.

"Anytime the river gets up to where it's at, we'll go out -- me and a buddy of mine will go out in it -- and we'll set limb lines," Watkins told WDRB. "We'll hang lines out of the tree. Then we'll give it four or five hours, and go back and run 'em and see what we got. Normally, the Salt River is good for them big cat(fish)…we'll do it every time the river gets up."

Chris Fegett snapped photos of Watkins with the catfish and posted them on Facebook to prove that Sunday’s catch was not just a fish tale, WLKY reported.

The water levels in Shepherdsville were at their highest on Sunday, WLKY reported.

The Facebook post has been shared more than 64,000 times.

Fegett estimated that the catfish weighed close to 40 pounds, but Watkins said it was more than 50 pounds and possibly as much as 60.

"That scale we had wasn't no good," Watkins told WDRB. "We had a 50-pound digital scale from Walmart, but it just -- it maxed out. It wouldn't go no higher."

We’ll never know for sure. Fegett said Watkins let the catfish go.

The fish had been tied to Watkins’ porch, WDRB reported, but there had never been plans for a fish fry.

"We don't eat none of them big ones," Watkins told WDRB.

Meanwhile, Watkins’ daughter, Heather Watkins Colvin, posted photos of her father’s home, ruefully noting that it “Doesn’t look like we’ll be getting in Dad’s pool anytime soon.”

Stoneman Douglas hockey team wins state championship

The ice hockey team at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School won a state title Sunday, 11 days after a gunman killed 14 students and three teachers at the school.

>> Read more trending news

Stoneman Douglas senior Joey Zenobi told WBBH-TV that the team was playing for the victims of the Valentine’s Day shooting.

“We came into the game knowing we had to give it our all to get the win, and that’s what we did,” Zenobi told the news station. “This wasn’t for us, this was for the 17 victims. We played for them.”

>> Related: Florida school shooting: What we know about the victims

Some team members dyed their hair yellow in honor of Joaquin Oliver, a friend of theirs who died in the Feb. 14 mass shooting.

“We almost didn’t even come here, because we didn’t know if we wanted to play or not,” senior Ronnie Froetschel told WBBH-TV. “I’m just glad to be alive.”

>> Related: Florida school shooting survivors return to campus, try to resume normalcy

The fourth-seeded Eagles upset top-seeded East Lake High School in an elimination game Sunday before routing Tampa’s Jesuit High School 7-4 later in the day to win the Lightning High School Hockey League Tier 1 state title, according to ESPN.

Officials with Jesuit High School congratulated the Stoneman Douglas team on Twitter after the win.

“The SD players endured unimaginable tragedy at their school, and now they will bring a state title back to their grieving community,” school officials said.

Stoneman Douglas senior Matthew Horowitz told WBBH-TV that the team was awarded 17 medals, one for each player on the ice. He said the team plans to bring the medals back to the school to honor each of the 17 shooting victims.

The ice hockey league is sponsored by Statewide Amateur Hockey of Florida, according to ESPN.

Philadelphia boy, 4, will donate bone marrow to save twin baby brothers 

He might be a 4-year-old boy, but Michael DeMasi Jr. is a superhero in his parents’ eyes.

>> Read more trending news

On March 8, the young South Philadelphia resident will donate bone marrow to help save the lives of his twin 4-month-old brothers, Santino and Giovanni, who suffer from a rare immune disease, WTXF reported. The procedure will take place at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, reported.

"He's just like ‘I'm a real-life superhero.’ He says, ‘I'm going to save my baby brothers,’” said Michael’s mother, Robin Pownall.

“I want to help them,” Michael Jr. told “I’m not scared.”

The twins were diagnosed with chronic granulomatous disease, which affects one in 500,000 persons each year, WTXF reported. The family’s oldest child, Dominick, also was born with the disease.

Pownall said she was impressed by Michael Jr.’s strength.

“He goes to the doctor when he gets the labs for the pre-testing, and he says, ‘Look how strong I am,’ and he gives them willingly his arm to get blood work. The nurses are amazed,” Pownall told WTXF. “They're like, ‘I cannot believe how brave he is,’ and he really is. It gives me chills.”

The family started a GoFundMe page to help with medical costs, WTXF reported.

Cross-country team cleans up overflowing trash in elderly couple’s yard

A high school cross-country team in upstate New York helped an elderly couple take out the trash Saturday -- lots of it.

>> Read more trending news

Ann and Robert Dobson live in the Rochester suburb of Greece. For more than six years, garbage from a nearby shopping plaza has blown onto the Dobsons’ front yard, Rochester First reported

"Last summer when I cleaned up, I filled 240 gallon trash bags of litter just in the front yard," Robert Dobson told Rochester First. 

"It never stops. You pick it up, and a week later you got the same amount back out there again," Dobson told WHAM. "And if you get any strong windstorms, it's even worse."

Dobson said he does his best to keep a clean yard. But that's getting harder to do with the amount of litter blowing in their yard.

"Certainly, we want to have a nice looking yard, but it's pretty hard to when you have to go out there once a week and clean things up," he told WHAM.

The couple has lived at the same location for 50 years, and the street they live on is named for them. But this past week, the Town of Greece issued the couple a citation for not cleaning up the litter, WHAM reported.

Enter the McQuaid Jesuit cross-country team. On Saturday, several members of the squad picked up all the trash and installed a barrier fence, Rochester First reported.

People passing by also stopped to lend a hand, said Karen Donahower, whose two sons are members of the McQuaid squad.

"It wasn't just us; people were stopping. A women and a couple little girls stopped and helped with the trash cleanup and a man came over and helped with the fencing," she told Rochester First. 

Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich said the town came up with an additional solution to help the Dobsons.

"They have agreed to issue locks for all the dumpsters to prevent that from happening and they also agreed to police the area behind the plaza and will pick up the trash on the Dobsons’ road," Reilich told Rochester First.


Dogs separated at adoption randomly find each other at crowded market

A couple strolled through downtown Seattle’s iconic, bustling Pike Place Market food stands on a clear winter Saturday when their dog started running through the booths

>> Read more trending news

"We noticed a puppy who looked very similar in age and appearance to [our dog] Maui, and once they saw each other they got really excited and started playing together," owner Kaitlyn Hawkins told KIRO 7. "After chatting with the other owners we realized that the dogs are siblings."

The 11-month-old dogs rolled around, embracing each other in their coincidental reunion. 

Maui and her sister Juniper were adopted from Russia. They were flow to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport last May as puppies.

The two dogs recognizing each other nearly a year later has made them an internet sensation. With more than 15 million visitors exploring the historic district annually, people find the encounter quite remarkable. 

A worker at the Pike Place Market captured the moment in a video, and nearly 3 million people have watched it on Facebook

"I witnessed the coolest thing," the Facebook post said. "They even had identifying tattoos that confirmed it. This joyful reunion went on for over a half an hour, in fact they were still at it when I left the market." 

After the two families chatted, they realized they briefly met while picking the dogs up at the airport. They've exchanged phone numbers and plan to meet again soon for a play date at a dog park. 

Girl gives teacher her 75 cents in ice cream money to help with family funeral

A kind-hearted gesture by an Alabama sixth-grader has gone viral after the girl gave up her ice cream money -- 75 cents -- to help fund the funeral for her teacher’s father-in-law.

Price Lawrence, an English teacher at Highlands Elementary School in Huntsville, posted about the moment Tuesday on Facebook. He said that his first period students could tell that he was “a little off” that morning, so he explained that his wife’s father had died over the weekend and that he was worried about her.

The students offered their condolences, then got busy on classwork. The subject of their teacher’s family’s loss was forgotten, except for one girl. 

“While standing at my door giving hugs and high-fives at dismissal to second period, one little girl put something in my hand,” Lawrence wrote. “She told me, ‘This is for your wife. I know it was real expensive when my daddy died, and I don’t really want ice cream today anyways.’”

Lawrence posted a photo of what the girl gave him -- three quarters and a note on an index card on which she had written, “Ms. Laerence (sic), I’m sorry,” followed by a frowny face in what appeared to be red colored pencil.

“I wish the world would pay more attention to children,” Lawrence wrote. “We could learn a lot from them.”

As of Friday morning, Lawrence’s post had been shared close to 260,000 times. More than 31,000 people responded to it. 

“That is how children should be raised,” one man wrote. “Kudos to that family.”

“God bless her little heart,” a woman wrote. 

Other commenters said the girl’s gesture had them in tears.

“Amazing how much love children have,” another woman wrote. “God bless this little one. Learn from her.”

“If we all had a heart like this sweet child, what a wonderful world we would have,” a third woman wrote. 

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Lawrence’s wife, Jessica Lawrence, posted the image on her own Facebook page, saying that the girl’s heart “affected (her) in the most positive way.” Jessica Lawrence, a high school English teacher, went on to say that the child’s gesture reminded her of the famous quote children’s television icon Mr. Rogers used when discussing tragedy.

“My mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping,’” Rogers said. “To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers -- so many caring people in the world.” 

Jessica Lawrence had a message for her own helpers.

“I see you, I love you and I appreciate you,” she wrote. “Thank you for giving me reason to continue to believe in the goodness of the world.”

One commenter wrote that he would not only give the girl a hug, but also make sure she gets all the ice cream she wants.

“I might have already paid the lunchroom for her ice cream for the rest of the week,” Price Lawrence responded. “Anonymously, of course.”

George, Amal Clooney donate $500,000 to Parkland shooting survivors, Oprah Winfrey matches amount

Nearly a week after the Valentine’s Day shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school, George and Amal Clooney have announced they will participate in The March For Our Lives on March 24 and have donated $500,000 to the group.

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The celebrity couple made the announcement in a statement from George Clooney. People reported the donation was made in the name of the couple’s 8-month-old twins Ella and Alexander.

“Amal and I are so inspired by the courage and eloquence of these young men and women from Stoneman Douglas High School,” Clooney said in a statement. “Our family will be there on March 24 to stand side by side with this incredible generation of young people from all over the country, and in the name of our children Ella and Alexander, we’re donating $500,000 to help pay for this groundbreaking event. Our children’s lives depend on it.”

Related: Gabrielle Union, Kim Kardashian, more celebs call for gun control after Florida school shooting

On Tuesday afternoon, Oprah Winfrey said she would match the Clooney’s donation.

“George and Amal, I couldn’t agree with you more,” Winfrey tweeted. “I am joining forces with you and will match your $500,000 donation to ‘March For Our Lives.’ These inspiring young people remind me of the Freedom Riders of the 60s who also said we’ve had ENOUGH and our voices will be heard.”

The March for Our Lives event was announced by Students David Hogg, Alex Wind, Cameron Kasky, Jacqueline Coren and Emma Gonzalez, five survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. On Feb. 14, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire at the school, killing 17 people.

Related: Florida school shooting timeline: Seven minutes, three floors and 17 dead

Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

The March For Our Lives march will be in Washington, D.C. According to the group’s website, “the kids and families of March For Our Lives will take to the streets of Washington DC to demand that their lives and safety become a priority and that we end this epidemic of mass school shootings.”

Tahirah Lamont Brown, FedEx’s first African-American woman pilot, reflects on making history

Tahirah Lamont Brown made history in 2002 as the first African American woman hired by FedEx to be a pilot. Brown works with the company as an Airbus captain and line check airman.

According to a Feb. 2 post on the FedEx blog, Brown first stepped into a cockpit in 1992.

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“I still remember it vividly as it was exhilarating. I was 20 years old. My first flight was in a Cessna 172, a four-seat single-engine prop plane,” Brown said. “My instructor in college was with me, along with my supportive, yet reluctant father in the backseat. We took off out of Long Island and flew to Greenwich, Connecticut. I was on top of the world. I could not believe that my view was the sky.”

To make her dream a reality, she had to work two jobs to pay for college and for flight training. She even asked her family for money at one point, promising she would pay them back after.

Brown credits another history maker for helping her on her career path.

“I met Bill Norwood, the first black pilot at United Airlines, while in Tuskegee, Alabama, at Operation Skyhook and he introduced me to OBAP, the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals,” Brown said. “That introduction provided me with the guidance I needed, and also helped me with scholarships for flight training.”

“I felt like the world had no limits,” Brown said. 

Read more about Brown’s experience at the FedEx Blog.

Texas jail guard thanks inmates who aided him during heart attack 

A former Texas jail guard still becomes emotional when he thinks about the day several prisoners helped save his life when he suffered a massive heart attack.

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“Instead of overtaking me and taking my gun, and killing me or taking a hostage and escaping, they looked at me as a human being,” Gary Grimm told WFAA

Grimm, 52, was guarding prisoners in a basement holding cell at the Parker County District Courthouse on June 23, 2016, when he suffered the heart attack.

“I just slumped and went out,” Grimm told WFAA. “Next thing I remember is looking up at the ceiling in the ER (emergency room).”

The incident was captured on a courthouse surveillance video.

"They thought I was kidding," Grimm told WFAA. "I wasn't."

Inmates began shouting and banging on the holding cell walls, eventually breaking free from the cell. Their noise was heard by deputies in the courtroom, who called for paramedics after investigating the ruckus.

Grimm, who worked for more than 20 years at Texas prisons and jails, retired in December because of his heart condition. He said he always treated most inmates with respect.

“I don't care if they're a drug user, hot check writer, or child molester. They're still a human being. I don't have to like what they did, but it's not my position to be the judge and jury,” Grimm told WFAA.

Grimm said he will undergo open heart surgery this week and will have a left ventricle assistance device installed.

"I need that for at least six months, and then maybe we can have a transplant," Grimm said. 

He will get the chance for surgery thanks to the inmates that did not take advantage of Grimm’s incapacity.

"I get emotional. If they wished harm for me, all they had to do was sit there and do nothing,” Grimm told WFAA. 

Friends have started a GoFundMe page to help the family with extra expenses as Gary Grimm awaits a possible transplant.

Céline Dion says her late husband is only man she’s ever kissed

In a recent interview with The Project, 49-year-old music legend Céline Dion got candid about the 2016 death of her husband and manager René Angélil.

Dion described what it felt like to lose Angélil — who died at age 73 after a cancer battle —after decades of marriage.

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“For three years, my husband did not have a sip of water or food. He was eating through a tube,” Dion said. “The only thing I hoped while he was in three years of agony: I wanted him to live in peace. I wanted him to feel so light and no worries. He had a little heart attack. It’s so quick; he didn’t even feel anything. I thought that he was like liberated from his pain.”

“He’s the only man I’ve seen. The only man I’ve loved. The only man I’ve kissed,” the Canadian added.

Angélil — with whom Dion shared sons René-Charles Angélil, 17, and twins Eddy and Nelson Angélil, 7 — died two days before his 74th birthday and days before the death of Dion’s brother, Daniel Dion. As Dion’s longtime music manager, Angélil had always had a role in her life personally and professionally.

Dion has a bronze replica of Angélil’s hand that she brings along to every one of her performances. With two Las Vegas residencies that combined have spanned well over a decade and counting, she’s had many performances with his hand in hers since his passing. 

Dion put her residency on hold during her husband’s bout with cancer, but it was Angélil’s constant support even through his illness that quickly led Dion back to the stage.

“I shake my husband’s hand and knock on wood with him every night before every show,” Dion, 49, told The Daily Telegraph. “Even after he’s gone, I still talk to him.”

A month before Angélil’s death, the longtime couple celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary.

“My husband wanted me to go back onstage before he passed; that’s what he wanted the most,” Dion said. “So I went back onstage while he was still alive; he wanted to make sure I could keep going. So I did prove to him (that), yes, I could keep going. I told him I’ve got the kids and that he’s got to trust me, he’s got to relax.

“He taught me so much. He did a great job; what he had been giving to me all his life and all my life will always be with me. He gave me his all. He mortgaged his house to pay for my first album. I guess before he left he wanted to make sure I was fine. I’m trying to prove to him every day I’m fine. Our kids are growing. We feel strong. We’re good.”

Disney’s ‘Elsa’ helps to make birthday magical when girls’ guests are no-shows

Leyana had planned her birthday to a T. She even picked the right outfit. Then, the waiting began. Despite handing out invitations to everyone in Leyana’s class, no one showed up for the first-grader’s party, except for the actress who was hired to portray Elsa from Disney’s “Frozen.”

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Now, Lindsay Robert, who has been dressing up as Elsa and appearing at birthday parties, has reached out on Facebook to tell Leyana’s story.

"It was soul crushing. When I open the door, I’m used to all the kids running up to me. But she was just all by herself. Just looking down. Just so sad and she just launched herself into my arms,” Robert told KDVR.

During the time  she was scheduled to arrive, there was supposed to be a house-full of kids. But it was only Leyana so she and Robert danced, sang and formed a friendship, KDVR reported.

“I wasn’t kidding when I told you that every princess is smart and brave and kind, and you are all those things,” Robert told Leyana while KDVR videotaped the pair’s reunion.

Robert took to Facebook to tell Leyana’s heartbreaking story. Not only is she sending a fairy garden to the little girl, “Because Elsa will never let you down,” she also visited Leyana with her “sister,” an actress playing Anna, and is planning another surprise for the 7-year-old.

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