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Sun Herald Top 10 inspiring stories of 2015

Video: Sun Herald’s most inspiring -- Glenda Rockwell battled Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Hancock High student Glenda Rockwell, 17, lost her battle with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in June. In April, Glenda told the Sun Herald about her fight against cancer.
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Hancock High student Glenda Rockwell, 17, lost her battle with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in June. In April, Glenda told the Sun Herald about her fight against cancer.

On the Coast and around the world, 2015 brought challenges and more and more, it seems, moments of despair.

But it also brought moments that demonstrated the best of people. From Coast residents fighting illness to fighting to help themselves and others be themselves, here are 10 inspirational stories from 2015.

1. The 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina was difficult for many. But it also let South Mississippi look back and reflect on the progress made over the past decade and on the incredible stories of survival.

2. "Scuba Steve" Johnson, 31, a Gulfport T-shirt entrepreneur who's been fighting Stage 3 colorectal cancer, found an outpouring of support from his friends and the community. He's not in remission but his most recent scan showed his tumor had shrunk from 16.9 to 1.7 on the scale doctors use.

3. After years of being bullied as a child, Trevor Ladner, a Hancock High School senior, uses drag artistry to express himself, combat gender roles and, he hopes, get a scholarship to Tulane University.

4. Casey Lessard, 26, a D'Iberville firefighter, calmed a child injured in a car crash by lying down next to him near the crash site and showing him the movie "Happy Feet" on his cellphone. The photo of the moment made headlines worldwide.

5. On a Friday in June, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. Two Coast couples, after being turned away from the Harrison County courthouse that day, returned the following Monday to wed after years of being denied the right.

6. Radar, a Hancock County sheriff's K-9, was found and reunited with his handler after the bloodhound fled a car accident. His handler, who was injured in the crash, was on his way to recovery as well.

7. Long Beach native Robby D'Angelo lost 115 pounds, got healthy and wrote a book called "The Struggle is Real" -- not to give diet or workout advice but to motivate people to change their lifestyles.

8. Seventeen-year-old Glenda Rockwell lost her 16-month battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma. But her life and her attitude during her illness served as an inspiration to others.

9. Taylor Gregory, a Biloxi 7-year-old, helped shatter gender roles when he became the first boy to appear in a Barbie ad.

10. Former Moss Point basketball standout Devin Booker was selected 13th overall by the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Draft in June. He became only the third South Mississippi player picked in the NBA Draft Lottery, joining Gulfport's Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (formerly Chris Jackson) in 1990 and Picayune's Jonathan Bender in 1999.

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