Irene Sendler was a polish nurse most active during the Second World War. She was the daughter of Dr. Stanisław Krzyżanowski, a physician, and his wife, Janina. An interesting fact about Irene is that she lost her father to typhus when she was just 7. Her father treated patients, that no other specialist wanted to treat from fear of contracting the disease. Many of his patients were also Jewish. Like father, like daughter! Irene, too, is famous for her selfless life and for collaborating with an underground resistance organization. With their help Irene smuggled 2,500 Jewish children during the Holocaust. She provided them with fake identity documents and found housing for each of them. Irene was arrested by the Gestapo in 1943 and severely beaten, tortured and sentenced to death. Still, she refused to give out the names of the children, or the names of her colleagues and partners. On the way to her execution the German guards were bribed and Irene was rescued. She continued her work with Jewish children incognito until the end of the war She died in 2008 at the age of 98. In her long and meaningful she has been a true inspiration for the Life in a Jar Project and a movie for her life. She received several awards among which the Order of the Smile and a post-humus Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award.
Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman wasn't so lucky to live as long as some of our heroes listed here. She died of terminal cervical cancer, when she was just 31, but she left an immortal legacy. After she gave birth to her fifth child, Henrietta noticed an abnormal bleeding and reported to feel a "knot inside of her". When possible pregnancy and syphilis were ruled out, doctors found a lump in her cervix. As a part of her treatment both cancerous and healthy cells were removed. They were handed to Dr. Otto Gey, who eventually discovered that her cells could do something no one has ever seen before - they could be kept alive and grown. This is how the immortal cell line, named HeLa (after Henrietta), was discovered. Prior to this, human cells could only be kept alive for a few days and researchers actually spend more time trying to keep them alive than to be able to do any kind of research. It should come as no surprise that when Otto Gey found Henrietta Lacks' cells, there were some truly ground breaking discoveries in medicine. After she died Henrietta Lacks was buried in an unmarked grave in Lackstown Virginia. A headstone was later donated to her family to place on her grave. It read: Henrietta Lacks, August 01, 1920-October 04, 1951. In loving memory of a phenomenal woman, wife and mother who touched the lives of many. Here lies Henrietta Lacks (HeLa). Her immortal cells will continue to help mankind forever. Eternal Love and Admiration, From Your Family Since then her cells have been shipped to laboratories all over the world and she keeps saving and impacting the lives of millions! Even though her family received no royalties, it won recognition for the revolutionised medical research and a foundation has been established in her name.
After mentioning the Immortal HeLa, we should not go without telling the amazing story of the healing blood of James Harrison. The 78 year-old Australian man is truly fascinating. After undergoing a major chest surgery (for which he needed more than 13 litres of bloog), the then 14 year-old young man made a promise that when he turns 18 he will donate blood to give something back. After a few donations it was discovered that James has blood containing an unusually strong and persistent antibody called Rho(D) Immune Globulin. Rho(D) IG is given to Rh(D) negative mothers of unknown or Rh(D) positive babies during and after pregnancy to prevent the creation of antibodies to the blood of a Rh(D) positive child to prevent hemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN). His blood plasma derivatives have since been given as treatment to one in ten pregnant women, saving more than 2.4 million babies. In his life James has donating blood 1000 times, which means once every three weeks for 57 years. His life is estimated at AUD$1 Australian dollars. He was also awarded Australian of the Year and won numerous other prizes and recognitions.
And while some give generously their miraculous blood, this men - the 100 year-old Bulgarian man Dobry Dobrev will give you a lesson in giving EVERYTHING. Born to Bulgarian parents in Bailovo (a small village near the capital Sofia) he loses his father in World War 1. In World War 2 a bomb falls near him and he loses nearly all his hearing. He marries has four children and lives a fairly normal life, but over the years he becomes detached of all things material and devotes to serve the Lord. In 2000 he donated all his belongings to the Orthodox church and moved in a small extension of the parish church in Bailovo. He then decided to raise even more funds. He did so by walking every single day to the capital (40 km away) where he begged. He has donated more than 80,000 Bulgarian leva (40,000 euros) to orphanages, churches and monasteries. Of these 80,000 BGN he donated 37,000 BGN to the famous Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and became the biggest benefactor. He lives off his pension of €80 a month and claims this is more than enough for him. Nowadays he receives a lot of attention, but he says he wants to remove himself from the limelight and continue his work. When people found out where he lived and how, they started donating furniture, money and clothes, offered to move him to different homes, but he refuses. He makes his own clothes and claims what he has is more than enough for him.
He is one of Bulgaria's living saints and has been featured by major newspapers, journalists, removalists companies
and different media outlets as an example of a real life hero.
Louis Zamperini is a former Olympian, an ex-war prisoner and an inspirational speaker, who symbolizes the unbroken spirit and the will to move on to redemption and forgiveness. He was born to Italian parents who immigrated to the US in the early 1900s. He was a noted Olympian and athlete before he enrolled in the armed forces. The story of his trials and tribulations started when his plane crashed 850 miles away from Oahu and Louis found himself with three of his comrades Russel Allen "Phil" Phillips and Francis "Mac" McNamara lost at sea. They survived on rain water, raw fish and sea gulls. The hunger, thirst and fatigue were not the only problems the three faced. They had to fight back sharks, storms and Japanese attacks. Back home, they were declared dead. After 34 days at sea Francis MacNamara died. Phil and Louis were captured two weeks later and sent to camps designed for war prisoners. There they were tortured and physically and psychologically abused on a daily basis and by one person in particular - Mutsuhiro Watanabe. When Louis was finally released after the war ended he returned home and married Cynthia Applewhite, to whom he remained married until her death. Even though he returned to normal life, things weren't easy for him. Louis suffered severe post traumatic stress disorder. His life was falling apart, but with the help of his wife he managed to turn things around. He found redemption, salvation and was ready to forgive those who tormented him. He didn't save many, but he is the evidence that the human spirit and the goodness in people are unbroken. With the help of Billy Graham, he became an inspirational speaker and a mentor for troubled youth.