Civil war, Ebola, the opioid epidemic, cyclones, hurricanes, and other crises scarred 2019. But each disaster was accompanied by people who were ready to help make things better.
Here are some of the stories you might have missed about these heroes around the world, plus a few extra stories about gamers, climbers, and world-class athletes who contributed as well.
Hurricane Dorian was one of the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricanes ever recorded, with maximum sustained winds over 185 miles per hour. It took over 70 lives and did catastrophic damage to Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands. Puerto Ricans could relate — they went through their own disaster with Hurricane Maria in 2017. Led by a pediatric oncologist, a group went, street by street, through the island’s villages, treating people too unwell or immobile to travel to one of the clinics.
The opioid crisis in the United States continues to take tens of thousands of lives per year. In Virginia, a small band of locals have taken the initiative to help reverse overdoses and prevent deaths.
Measles, once thought to be well under control, has reemerged as a public heath threat around the world, due in part to lower vaccination rates. One pediatrician traveled from Hawaii to help health officials vaccinate against the disease.
Cyclone Idai was a historic tropical cyclone that took more than 1,300 lives in southeast Africa. These two 27-year-old doctors went back to work the day after it hit their hometown of Beira, Mozambique, and never stopped serving their community.
Obstetric fistula is a particularly awful birth complication that often results in the death of the baby and lingering, alienating health issues for the mother. Bangladesh is trying to prevent all cases by 2030, and this doctor is doing all he can to help the cause.
The global refugee crisis continued during 2019. In South Sudan, one doctor followed his patients after they fled to Uganda.
Last year’s Camp Fire in Paradise, California, was the most destructive wildfire in the state’s history, killing 85 people and doing more than $16 billion in damage to property. Since that time, a family of nurses came together to start a nonprofit so they could better help those left behind by recovery efforts.
If you’ve ever wondered what’s it’s like to be humanitarian worker in a disaster zone, you can hear about it firsthand in this podcast segment.
And some stories you might have missed about climbers, gamers, and big time athletes who are all doing good in their own ways:
One of them was even willing to climb the highest peak (literally) to support Direct Relief’s mission of delivering essential medical aid to vulnerable people around the world.
Esports and video games make up the fastest-growing entertainment sector in the U.S. Gamers are also rising as a philanthropic community. This year alone, over 6,000 of them donated to Direct Relief for a total, as of December 19, of $1 million.
And finally, some community service insights from former MLB star Carlos Delgado, who was working to ensure pediatric patients have access to health care.