These tales might bolster your faith in humanity

Updated 10/19/2015 10:55 AM

I could fill this column each week by recapping some of the stories we come across that fuel your faith in humanity.

Hammering that point home was Jim Fuller's Page 1 story today about St. Charles native Katie Hilborn. As Jim meticulously details, her wanderlust and desire to help people came together when she persuaded her church mission to make an unprecedented pilgrimage to Ireland. After college, that sense of travel and purpose exploded. Hilbert made humanitarian trips to Bolivia and Uganda before settling in Nepal, where her goal was pretty basic: Helping orphans. Money goes a long way in underdeveloped nations, she discovered, so she started buying cows, for $500 apiece, a commodity that could provide enough income for a single mom. But the Nepali villagers convinced her she was the one who could build them a school. She's working on that, and now has a 6-month deadline to raise $105,000. Education is seen as key to their children escaping the poverty and the stunning incidence of sex-slave trading that goes on in the country still recovering from a devastating earthquake.


Fighting Parkinson's:

Todd Johnson got his diagnosis of Parkinson's disease at an incredibly early age: 31. His reaction? "My philosophy is a riff on the serenity prayer: Control what you can, accept what you can't," the Arlington Heights man said. So in that time, he's gotten married, bought a house, fathered a child. A few weeks after his diagnosis, he met his future wife. After things seemed to be heading in a serious direction, he told her of his illness, giving her a chance to bail. She didn't, and now the couple works as a team, raising funds for Parkinson's research.

Stolen vegetables prompt outpouring of help:

OK, the first part of this story doesn't restore your faith in humanity. Thieves stole about 50 pounds of vegetables from the garden cultivated all summer by the Boys & Girls Club of Elgin. The garden served as a source of nutrition and education to less-fortunate kids. From there, things get much better. Right off the bat, the city, which owns the land at Ann Street and Dundee Avenue, stepped up. Mayor David Kaptain proposed selling or donating the land to the club, which would then have the ability to build fencing or a shed on the property to discourage future theft. But others pitched in quickly, too. A "Rebuild Our Community Garden" campaign has raised $1,700, Hampshire-based Serosun Farms donated its surplus vegetables to the club. Other major donors include Midwest Compost and Klein's Farm, both of Elgin, and a company in Peoria, Lawnscapers Inc., even pitched in.

In memory of Kristy:

Thirty years after Kristy Wesselman's murder and the charging of a suspect, an effort is underway to award an annual scholarship in her honor at Glenbard South High School. Robert Dieter, the recipient of a one-time $500 donation from Kristy's mom Sandy, was inspired to made that scholarship an annual thing, with $3,000 raised almost immediately. Meanwhile, Bridget King, Kristy's friend, said the scholarship will be awarded annually to the Glenbard South student who serves as freshman class president, which Kristy did.

"We wanted to make sure no one loses focus that Kristy was a positive presence, even in her 15 years," King said.

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