TODAY I woke up with a smile on my face. Christmas is 18 days away, as of this writing! The sound of Christmas music and the cold winter breeze brushing against my face made sure I remember that. But aside from the stark reminder that I only have a few days to “wrap-up’ my Christmas list, I realize that this is the best time to take a moment and remember the things that have happened this year. I’ve rounded up a few of the good – and the not-so-good – things that have happened in 2017.
Religious communities come together
2017 was a tough year but it was also filled with a number of significant milestones. One of them was the time churches and synagogues offered space, money, and helping hands—raising more than a million dollars to rebuild a mosque’s in Texas which was burned out in January. The Victoria Islamic Center have broken ground in May and by September they were distributing emergency supplies to victims of Hurricane Harvey. Such remarkable generosity that’s enough to restore our faith in humanity. Surely, this event made this year really memorable.
Notable scientific advancements
Innovations in 2017 include a treatment for ALS and a device to help regrow skin for burn victims.
Remember that challenge where your friends and family tag you to pour a bucket of ice-cold water on yourself and you pass along the challenge until everybody you know has done it and the whole thing goes viral – but for a good cause?
Yes, I am talking about the ALS ice bucket challenge. And 2017 is the year that it led to real progress in treating and curing the disease. ALS is a rare, lethal disease where motor nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord are damaged and killed by the body’s glial cells, leading to atrophy, paralysis, and eventually death from respiratory failure.
After the famed “ice bucket challenge” helped raise money to research a cure, Israeli scientists at Ben-Gurion University found a way to stop the increased activity of glial cells, restoring the nervous system’s immune defenses and increasing life expectancy, The Times of Israel reported.
Another medical innovation that happened this year was the development of “SkinGun” which is designed to help damaged skin regrow with no scars. Burns are painful to treat and often leave behind obvious scarring which makes this device “heaven-sent.” As of writing, the device is awaiting FDA approval, but has already proven successful for patients in both the U.S. and Germany, according to Newsweek.
Taiwanese court rules in favor of same-sex marriage
While it was in 2015 when the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage as legal in all 50 states, it was only in 2017 that Taiwan followed suit. Taiwan’s constitutional court has ruled that the country’s civil laws barring same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, giving the legislature two years to fix current laws or enact new ones allowing gay marriage which would make the island nation the first in Asia to do so. If you remember the LGBTQ community rejoicing (so colorfully) when it was officially announced two years ago, it wouldn’t take much for you to imagine how they would have received the news over there in Taiwan. That’s definitely something they can cross off their 2017 bucket list!
A cancer drug breakthrough
Any medical advancement or a way to extend life is always good news. Much more if it’s a cure for cancer. This year, for the first time, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug to treat any tumor sharing certain genetic characteristics — regardless of cancer type. For years, doctors focused on treating cancer cells depending on where they were in the body. Pembrolizumab (known by its brand name Keytruda) is an immunotherapy drug that blocks the cancer cell’s ability to protect itself from the body’s immune system. Cheers to 2017: the year we found a way to beat the Big-C!
Mass shootings, disasters and bombing Incidents
There were triumphs in 2017 but there were also tragedies and news that broke our hearts – and will take a while for us to forget. From Texas to Florida to Puerto Rico, Las Vegas and England, the pain was like a nightmare – except it was real. It all happened before our eyes. The extent of the suffering was unfathomable. Houston and Florida are still reeling from sequential hurricanes. Puerto Rico hasn’t gotten to its feet in the wake of Maria. The people of Charlottesville, Virginia watched hate march into town and take one of their own–an event from which they’re still recovering, families (of the victims) of the Manchester bombing incident were still healing from the tragedy that struck them when six months later, a man hauled a cache of weapons into a hotel room in Las Vegas and unleashed a hailstorm of death on concertgoers below, killing dozens and wounding hundreds. I can only wish that these tragedies will unite humankind and and make us stronger than ever.
• Increase in suicidal rates
If there’s one very important reality that we can take away from Linkin Park’s vocals Chester Bennington and Audioslave lead singer Chris Cornell’s death (which both coincidentally happened in 2017), it is the disarming fact that suicide is not predictable. It could happen to anyone, whether you’re an ordinary citizen or you’re an award-winning famous celebrity. As documented in a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates have been increasing since 2000 after decades of decline. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that each year approximately one million people die from suicide, which represents a global mortality rate of 16 people per 100,000 or one death every 40 seconds. It is predicted that by 2020 the rate of death will increase to one every 20 seconds. Death is sad no matter how or when it happens. It is my hope that we will all cherish every moment we spend with our loved ones because we don’t know if and we’d still get to spend another year with them.
Every passing year is an opportunity to remember and be thankful for what we have accomplished, even the things that we didn’t get to do. Because both are reminders that we still have a lot to live for and a reason to thank The Man upstairs for giving us another year to make up and move forward. As we celebrate the holidays ushering us towards the end of 2017, may we all take a moment to reflect and be grateful.
Monet Lu is a Marikina-born, award-winning celebrity beauty stylist with his own chain of Monet Salon salons across Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada. Ultimately, Monet is known as an all-around artiste who produces sold-out fashion and awards shows as well as unforgettable marketing campaigns. Monet is also the founder of the revolutionary all-natural beauty products such as Enlighten, your solution to discoloration . To contact Monet, please visit www.monetsalon.com or email him at [email protected]