Whewww it’s been a busy 2013 for celebrity parents. There was the brouhaha over the arrival of Prince George (plus the ups and downs of that royal tummy), über momma Angelina announcing her double mastectomy via the New York Times and lil’ North West’s fake photo debacle. But away from the pages of Us Weekly some gobsmacking, life-affirming and down right incredible things have happened this year for everyday American families. Here’s what we learnt in 2013.
1. It’s cool to be different (and kids are awesome)
When six year-old Danny Keefe became the target of school bullies because of his speech impediment his football team (where Danny serves as the official water coach), decided enough was enough, rallying around to celebrate “Danny Appreciation Day.” 46 kids dressed in his favorite style (a suit and tie), garnering national headlines and scoring a big win for non-conformist kids countrywide (who we already suspected would come out tops anyway).
2. It’s tricky to have a baby in a tornado (but this family managed it)
Shayla Taylor had gone into labour when the Oklahoma tornado (with peak winds of up to 210 miles an hour) approached Moore Hospital on May 20th. Staff ushered her to the nearest place without windows – the operating room. ‘We were all in there praying. I turned my head sideways and closed my eyes.’ When she opened them again, she saw the main interstate road and the nearby Warren Theatre – the storm had ripped away the roof and walls of the building. Fortunately, Shayla was taken to a nearby, undamaged hospital where she gave birth to her son.
3. Every baby is a miracle but two sets of identical twins is off-the-scale amazing
A Texas mom welcomed four newborn sons on Valentine’s Day (despite odds estimated at one in 70 million). Together with husband Manuel, Tressa Montalvo conceived naturally without any fertility drugs and if that wasn’t remarkable enough, gave birth to two sets of identical twins: Ace, Blaine, Cash and Dylan. “We planned the pregnancy. I guess we just succeeded a little too much!’ she told press.
4. Even in the wake of disaster comes great joy
Caroline Reinsch and boyfriend Christian Williams were both at the finishing line when the bomb went off at the Boston marathon on Patriots Day. The blast left the couple with horrific leg injuries, but when they were rushed to ER, Reinschat, who has been desperately trying to conceive, learnt that she was pregnant. Their joy at the news and incredible resilience and positivity in the wake of the bombing has been an inspiration.
5. 14 is the new 13
Sara Brandon always knew that her son would be born on the larger side (doctors estimated that he’d be 11lb), but even she was shocked when they delivered a whopping 14lb baby (just beating 2013’s other “biggest baby” title holder, a 13lbs 12oz baby girl from Pennsylvania). They named their new arrival Joel Brandon Jr and took him home after 10 days.
6. The tiniest of survivors can give others hope
Doctors revealed that a baby born with HIV in Mississippi three years ago is still in remission. The toddler, who was infected in the womb, was treated aggressively with antriretroviral drugs shortly after birth and remains HIV-free.
7. One family can make a world of difference
The parents of 10 year-old Cystic Fibrosis sufferer Sarah Murnaghan successfully fought the ‘Under 12’ rule that had prevented her from qualifying for adult lungs. Sarah underwent two double lung transplants in June while the Organ Transplantation and the Procurement Network has now created a mechanism for exceptions in the Under 12 Rule, giving hope to others in the same situation.
8. Batman is 5 ft tall
A little boy battling with leukemia saved San Francisco from villains when he played Batkid for the day. Miles Scott, 5, was cheered on by thousands public as he teamed with an adult-sized Batman: hopping into Batmobiles, fighting The Riddler and freeing San Francisco Giants’ mascot Lou Seal from The Penguin’s clutches. The day was organized by Make-A-Wish Foundation.