As 2014 comes to a close, it’s natural to look back at what the past year has brought us. It seems that 2014 had more than its fair share of sorrow and pain. The kidnap of more than 200 Nigerian girls from their school spawned an online campaign of epic proportions, and yet the girls are still missing. Riots in Ferguson, Missouri, brought to light the race relation issues that still plague our country.

The nation grieved when some of the brightest people to grace the world were lost. Maya Angelou, author and activist, died in her home at age 86. Robin Williams, comedian and actor, lost his battle against mental illness and took his own life at age 63. Actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman died of an apparent drug overdose in February. Still more lives were lost in the disappearance of flight MH370 and the crash (or possible shooting-down) of flight MH17.

However, 2014 was not all sorrow. There were things to celebrate and cheer for this past year, too.

For example, the world came together to watch two once-every-four-years sporting events.

The Winter Olympics in Sochi drew the world’s attention in February. Even though Russia beat the United States in the overall medal count, the 2014 Winter Olympics left plenty to be inspired by. Olympian women made history by competing in new events, like women’s ski jumping. In addition, several records were broken by the women at Sochi. Veteran Olympians, some even in their mid-40s, also inspired the world, proving that age really is nothing but a number.

The World Cup also drew people together, especially since the United States made it (rather briefly) to the championship tournament. It even drew more viewers than the Winter Olympics. In fact, the final between Germany and Brazil, during which Germany thoroughly beat Brazil, set a record for the most-discussed live event in Twitter’s history.

Science also made a big leap forward with the landing of a probe on a moving comet.

The Rosetta spacecraft has been pursuing the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, also called Comet 67P, for a decade. When Rosetta successfully caught up with and entered orbit around Comet 67P, it was news worth celebrating. Now Rosetta has even sent a probe to land on the surface of the comet to collect information and images. Rosetta will remain in orbit around the comet for over a year.

This is the first time that a comet will be studied so closely for such a long period. Not only will this give scientists a new perspective on comets in general, but it may give some insight about our own planet’s history. Comets are thought to be made of ice containing different organic materials. Since the water on Earth may have come from comets, the chemical components of Comet 67P might tell scientists about the chemicals that helped form the seas of our own planet in its beginning. Studying this comet is, in a way, like studying the history of the solar system.

Closer to home, the ice bucket challenge showed just how capable social media is of spreading awareness.

During the summer of 2014, the ice bucket challenge swept the internet. When tagged or nominated, a person had to post a video pouring a bucket of ice over his or her head, or else make a donation to research for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Many people both completed the challenge and made a donation.

Tons of celebrities, from Benedict Cumberbatch to Bill Gates to Martha Stewart, took part in the ice bucket challenge. Not only did the ice bucket challenge raise a lot of awareness for ALS, but it raised a lot of money for ALS research – over $100 million.

Another event that captured the world’s attention in 2014 was the HeForShe movement.

HeForShe was a solidarity movement, asking both men and women to stand up for gender equality. It focused heavily on male support of feminist issues, such as equal pay and the sexualization of women. However, it also encompassed awareness of the sexism faced by many men, from domestic abuse toward men to the stereotypes that prevent many men from expressing emotions.

The movement was led by Emma Watson, actress and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. In a speech that quickly went viral, she pointed out that feminism has become a word with unpleasant connotations. This, she said, is the purpose of the HeForShe movement: a cry for gender equality that hopefully won’t carry any of the baggage that the word “feminist” seems to have.

2014 seems to have been about unity.

The events of 2014 have shown, more than anything, that much of the world is capable of coming together. Whether it’s bonding over sports or coming together to fight disease or social issues, people have drawn together again and again in 2014. There’s no knowing what 2015 will hold, but let’s hope that whatever comes, the people of the world will be able to depend on each other.

At Pain Doctor, we’d like to help support you, too. 2014 has been an exciting year for us, with lots of new beginnings and changes. We hope we’ve been able to help you so far. We offer dozens of ways to alleviate pain, from alternative therapies to interventional procedures. Additionally, we do our best to help you educate yourself about your pain condition.

Our website has information about the many different conditions we treat and therapies we offer. This way you can learn as much as you can and work together with our specialists to figure out the best possible treatment for your condition. We also try to keep you up-to-date with the happenings of the pain-medicine community with our blog so that you know the newest research.

2014 showed the power of human force when we work together. In 2015, let Pain Doctor work together with you to make the new year a great one.

What are you looking forward to in 2015?

Image by kimdokhac via Flickr

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