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Feel-good Friday: Global BC’s highlights of the week

Mohammad Fayad's two children arrived in Vancouver on Thursday, Nov. 16. Global News

Each week at Global BC we highlight our stories to bring a bright spot to your Friday and into the weekend.

Here are the five stories we want to share:

2 B.C. service groups win Land Rovers, cash in charity competition

Two British Columbia service organizations are celebrating after winning brand new Land Rover Defenders and a hefty cash prize last weekend in Summerville Texas.

Squamish Search and Rescue and Honour House were declared winners in the Land Rover 2023 Defender Service Awards, a competition that awards customized Defender 130 vehicles along with US$25,000 to six charities in different categories.

Squamish Search and Rescue says the new vehicle will enable them to get into more remote backcountry areas than ever before, while Honour House will use the Land Rover to serve Honour Ranch, their latest project that provides a healing place for veterans and first responders being treated for operational stress injuries like post-traumatic stress disorder.

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Click to play video: 'Squamish SAR wins big at Defender Service Awards'
Squamish SAR wins big at Defender Service Awards

‘I’m so lucky’: B.C. man’s children arrive at YVR after fleeing Gaza

A B.C. man has finally been reunited with his two children who were trapped in Gaza.

After losing contact with his children during the conflict between Israel and Hamas, Mohammad Fayad’s children arrived at the Vancouver  International Airport on Thursday.

“I’m so lucky…. This is like being reborn,” Fayad told Global News.

“No words to describe how happy I am.”

Fayed fled Gaza in 2013 and was forced to leave his children behind in the care of their uncle. When he became a Canadian permanent resident he began the process of getting his children’s paperwork in order and the conflict sped up his urgency.

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The children, 14 and 12, were transported to Cairo and then flew through Frankfurt, landing at YVR Thursday accompanied by their uncle, who left his own family behind in Gaza.

Click to play video: 'B.C. man reunited in Vancouver with children from Gaza'
B.C. man reunited in Vancouver with children from Gaza

World’s most advanced exoskeleton developed in B.C.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

Exoskeleton technology developed by researchers at Simon Fraser University hopes to offer people living with mobility challenges a chance to experience free and independent movement.

The exoskeleton, known as XoMotion, took decades to research and design and is the product of an SFU spin-off company, Human in Motion Robotics (HMR).

SFU professors Siamak Arzanpour and Edward Park wanted to help people with motion disabilities to walk freely, naturally and independently.

“After all these years, the exoskeleton let me stand up and walk on my own without falling. I felt like myself again,” said Chloe Angus, who lost her mobility in her legs in 2015, and is a part of the XoMotion team.

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“The (moment) that has the most impact in my life is the day I stood up, and I walked across the lab and my husband happened to come around the corner to see me that day, and I walked up to him and I gave him a big hug and said, ‘honey, I’m back’.”

Click to play video: 'World’s most advanced exoskeleton made in B.C.'
World’s most advanced exoskeleton made in B.C.

$27K raised for scholarship in memory of Burnaby firefighter, NHLer after sudden death

It was an emotional night in Richmond on Thursday evening as tribute was paid to former pro hockey player and Burnaby firefighter Ray Sawada.

Sawada passed away suddenly during a recreational hockey game back in April.

The Richmond Sockeyes honoured Sawada Thursday evening, retiring his number 27 before their game, raising it to the rafters to hang at Minoru Arena.

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“Ray was a tremendous family man. He was a caring individual and he was always about other people and not about himself,” said Doug Patterson, Richmond Sockeyes president.

Sawada was a star player for the team 20 years ago from 2001 to 2003 before eventually moving on to the NHL. He was drafted by the Dallas Stars in the second round of the 2004 NHL draft.

A scholarship has been created in Sawada’s name, and Thursday’s jersey retirement event raised more than $27,000 for the fund.

Click to play video: '$27K raised for scholarship in memory of Burnaby firefighter after sudden death'
$27K raised for scholarship in memory of Burnaby firefighter after sudden death

HBO blockbuster ‘The Last of Us’ to start Vancouver production in January

Less than a week after Hollywood’s long and bitter strike concluded, there are already big signs Hollywood North is springing back into action.

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The Last of Us, arguably the world’s biggest television blockbuster, is set to return to production in Vancouver starting Jan. 7, 2024, according to the Film & Television Industry Alliance’s production list.

The first season, filmed in Alberta, was also hailed for showcasing its Canadian backdrop, something British Columbians are now looking forward to.

“I’m always excited when I hear things are being filmed in Vancouver, especially things I’m interested in because part of it is I like pointing out like, ‘Oh, I worked there,’ or ‘Oh, I’ve been down that street or something,” fan Jadine Konghey told Global News.

While Vancouver already has a reputation for playing other cities on the big screen, there are also hopes the big-name production could be a draw for visitors to the city.

“We know where it was filmed last time, in Alberta, it increased tourism, it was a huge attraction,” Vancouver City Coun. Mike Klassen said.

The Last of Us, one of the most expensive TV shows ever made with a per-episode budget of $10 million to $15 million, could help supercharge its revival.

Click to play video: 'The Last of Us to starts filming in Vancouver in January'
The Last of Us to starts filming in Vancouver in January

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