Brock Chadwick loves Halloween, but this year, he's celebrating a new holiday, Brocktoberfest, with new friends from around the world.
His great-aunt came up with the idea to celebrate Brocktoberfest as a way to cheer up the 7-year-old. Chadwick was diagnosed earlier this year with glioblastoma, a cancer affecting his brain and spine, and his mom, Brittney Horton, told ABC News that a recent MRI scan showed he has more tumors growing that are causing issues across his body. He's receiving treatment, but because his family isn't sure if he'll be able to go trick-or-treating and to Halloween parties, they asked friends on social media if they wouldn't mind sending him cards as part of Brocktoberfest.
Not only did friends start sending cards, books, and candy to Chadwick's home in Biddeford, Maine, but so did strangers, and he's already received more than 1,000 cards from places as far away as France, Singapore, and Scotland. His little sister helps him open his packages, and he loves reading the well-wishes and positive messages being shared with him. "It's made him smile a whole lot more," Horton said. Chadwick plans on dressing up no matter what on Halloween, and he's trying to choose between the Hulk and Captain America. Catherine Garcia
As he prepares to run 31 marathons in 31 cities in 31 days, Rob Jones has set two major goals for himself: raise money for charities that help veterans, and show other veterans that they can fully integrate back into society.
In 2010, while serving as a corporal in the Marine Corps, Jones stepped on a mine and it exploded, severing his legs below the knee. He came home to the United States, where through grueling physical therapy he learned how to walk with prosthetics, and he soon pushed himself to start running, rowing, and biking. His hard work paid off — in 2012, he won a bronze medal in rowing at the Paralympics and in 2013, he rode his bike from Maine to California, raising more than $125,000 for veterans' charities.
It can be very hard for troops to adjust when they return home, especially when they are injured, and 22 veterans commit suicide every day in the U.S. Jones plans to bring attention to this when he runs his first marathon Thursday in London all the way through Nov. 11, Veterans Day, when he races his final marathon in Washington, D.C. He has trained 18 months for this, and by the time it's over, Jones will have run 806 miles in a month and wants to have raised $1 million. "Hopefully, when a veteran sees that I was able to lose both legs above the knee and still have a purpose, still be a part of society, still contribute to my family, they can picture themselves doing it," Jones told Time. Catherine Garcia
A Minnesota man not only rescued a kidnapped teenager, he then gave her his $7,000 reward. Earl Melchert, 65, was driving by his lakeside property when he saw a female figure in the distance. He immediately recognized her as Jasmine Block, 15, whose face had been all over the news since she'd been abducted from her home 29 days before.
Block had escaped her three kidnappers, and swam across the lake to reach Melchert's house. He took her in until the police arrived. When they presented him with a check as his reward, he decided dinner with Block's family would suffice, and gave them the money instead. "It's the best thing I've ever done," he told The New York Times. "The family needs the money. To me, yeah, that's a lot of money, but they need it way worse than I do." Christina Colizza
Hours after the winner crossed the finish line, the last spectator went home, and the sun had set, Alan Robinson completed the Chicago Marathon.
It was Robinson's 20th marathon since a car accident in 1991 left him paralyzed from the neck down. "I was not supposed to be able to stand up," he told ABC 7. After putting in grueling work at a rehabilitation center, Robinson was able to slowly walk again and even started to run. It's been dangerous for him, though — Robinson said he's been run over, pushed, and even mugged while on his runs.
It took Robinson more than 15 hours to finish Sunday's Chicago Marathon, but he was never alone; a team of supporters took turns walking with Robinson and getting him food and water. Robinson has a heart condition, and said that the Chicago Marathon was his final race. Catherine Garcia
This weekend, Joe Jutras finally broke the record he's been eyeing for 10 years: His green squash weighed in at 2,118 pounds, making it the world's largest.
Jutras has been wanting to smash this record since 2007, when he made headlines for growing the world's biggest pumpkin (1,689 pounds). That record has since been broken (so has his 2006 record for longest gourd, at 126.5 inches), but the Rhode Island man is the first person to win world records in three of the most competitive growing categories. "It feels great," he told The Associated Press. "It's really been a goal of mine to try to achieve this."
Jutras is a retired cabinet maker, and now that he has more free time, he plans on spending it in his garden. He credits this year's win to a new soil cultivation technique and a seed from last year's record breaker, and is already looking at the bushel gourd to hopefully get him a fourth title. "I think the record now is about 279 pounds," Jutras said. "That might be something I might want to get into a bit." Catherine Garcia
Winner, South Dakota, is a small town, and the high school's homecoming parade is a big deal. That's why when the entire Winner High School football team made sure everyone at the Winner Regional Healthcare Center Long-Term Care attended the parade, it left residents "flabbergasted."
Many of the elderly residents are alumni of Winner High School, and before the parade, they made pennants and pom-poms to cheer the team on. When the Winner football coach, Dan Aaker, was approached with the idea of helping get the residents to the parade route, he said the team was in and every player would be involved. The residents were "ecstatic" when the football players started streaming into the facility, ready to push them in their wheelchairs to and from the parade route, Jody Engel, hospital communications director, told ABC News.
"It's monumental to them," she said. Because Winner is such a small community, everyone supports one another, especially when it comes to the high school and its athletic teams. "To be able to participate in something that is so much a part of the thread of the community makes them feel real again," Engel said. "It's those normal everyday things they miss the most." Homecoming ended on a high note for the team, as well — they won 38-13. Catherine Garcia
After seeing a Facebook post from a mom desperate to find her 9-year-old son a kidney donor, Lindsey Bittorf couldn't get the message out of her head.
Bittorf, a police officer from Rock County, Wisconsin, and mother of a 2-year-old, decided to have her blood tested to see if she could donate her kidney to Jackson Arneson. It turned out she was a perfect match. Before the transplant in June, Bittorf became close to Arneson and his mom, Kristi Goll, and now, several months later, they continue to text daily. "I can't thank Lindsey enough," Goll told People. "She's one of the family now."
Arneson was born with posterior urethral valves, which usually causes kidney damage. Arneson is doing well post-transplant, and hopes to go back to school in a few weeks. "He is so strong and brave," Bittorf told People. "I am just in awe of him. He calls me his best friend now. It's amazing that we went from being complete strangers to best friends." Arneson said the kidney "is the very best gift I will ever receive. I'm going to take extra, extra good care of it." Watch a video from when Bittorf surprised Arneson and his family with the donor news below. Catherine Garcia
Most of Puerto Rico is still without power following Hurricane Maria, so it's difficult for people on the island to communicate with friends and family in the United States, but a group of radio-loving New York City teenagers is using their skills to pass along 25-word messages that are then displayed on large boards in the center of towns for residents to check out.
The amateur radio club at the Garden School in Queens started just last year, and it now has 20 members. They typically compete in contests but have gotten plenty of real-world experience since Maria devastated Puerto Rico last month. People can send an email to their station, K2GSG, and the students craft the "radiogram," or message, and send it. There are about 24 amateur radio operators in Puerto Rico working with law enforcement and first responders to relay radiograms, and messages are also being sent back from Puerto Rico to the station.
After seeing what the club can do, other students have expressed interest in joining. Senior Lea Medina is one of just a few members who is licensed on her own to relay messages, and she's enjoyed doing her part to help with relief efforts. "There is not a better feeling than being able to make someone smile, or make sure that they feel safe," she told DNA Info. Catherine Garcia