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What's Trending Today: Edward Norton and Serena Williams

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An unnamed Syrian scientist's story went viral, and caught the attention of American actor Edward Norton
An unnamed Syrian scientist's story went viral, and caught the attention of American actor Edward Norton

An act of kindness made American actor Edward Norton a trending topic on social media today. The actor started an online campaign to raise money for a Syrian refugee who is being resettled in the state of Michigan.

The unnamed Syrian scientist shared his story with the website Humans of New York. The popular blog tells the life stories of strangers, mostly living in New York City. In recent months, Humans of New York has centered on the stories of refugees.

The scientist is a father of seven. He lost his wife and a daughter in a missile strike in Syria.

​He is now suffering from stomach cancer, and needs advanced treatment once he arrives in the United States.

Humans of New York posted the scientist's story late last week. The post got the attention of Edward Norton. Over the weekend, he started a campaign on Crowdrise.com to raise money for the man's medical expenses. By Monday afternoon, the campaign had raised more than $400,000.

Norton wrote, "If we don't welcome people like this into our communities and empower his dream of making an impact with his life, then we're not the country we tell ourselves we are."

The Syrian scientist's story also got the attention of President Barack Obama. He wrote a post on the on Humans of New York Facebook page.

The president wrote, "As a husband and a father, I cannot even begin to imagine the loss you've endured. You and your family are an inspiration. I know that the great people of Michigan will embrace you with the compassion and support you deserve."

Obama's comment on Facebook has received more than 170,000 'likes.'

Serena Williams

The magazine Sports Illustrated named American tennis player Serena Williams the 2015 Sportsperson of the Year. Williams is the first woman to receive the honor since 1983.

#Serena trended on Twitter worldwide. "Serena Williams" was the third-most popular search topic on Google today in the United States.

Williams' fans tweeted their approval of the sports magazine's choice.

​But some were unhappy with the decision to give Williams the honor. They believed the racehorse American Pharaoh should have won. The horse had won the "people's choice" poll by Sports Illustrated.

American Pharaoh won the 2015 Triple Crown in American horseracing. He also won the Breeders' Cup Classic. In doing so, he completed the 'Grand Slam' of American horseracing.

Twitter users pointed out while American Pharoah won a Grand Slam, Serena Williams fell short. She won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, but lost in the semifinal at the U.S. Open in September.

But others on social media noted that a horse should not be able to win Sports Person of the Year.

And that's What's Trending Today.

I'm Ashley Thompson.

Words in This Story

compassion -n. the feeling of wanting to help others

poll - n. an activity in which several or many people are asked a question or a series of questions in order to get information about what most people think about something

campaign - n. a series of activities designed to produce a particular result

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