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Five uplifting stories to get your 2017 off to a celebrity-death-free-start.

It seems like 2016 was just one tragedy after the next. From Trump to Prince, we’re still curled up in a ball battling the bad news hangover.

But you know what? It wasn’t all death and destruction. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and repeat after me: the world is good.

For every controversial political figure elected, there was a woman fighting for LGBTQI rights. And for every dead rock star, there was an Australian who wanted to make the world a better place for girls. For every devastating attack on our lives, there was someone fighting for the freedom of others.

There were some damn impressive stories to come out of 2016. Stories that make you go ‘awwww’ and ‘how the heck did she manage that?’

Stories like these…

Cath Pope fought for the right to have her marriage recognised in Australia. 

Cath Pope. (Source: Supplied.)

What better way to kick off this list than with a stirringly beautiful love story? Cath Pope is one of thousands of gay and lesbian people across the country who continue to be denied the right to legally marry their partner. But did she let that stop her from falling in love with a woman and celebrating that love? Absolutely not. After proposing on a whim in a Hungry Jacks restaurant, Cath travelled across the world to marry her partner Kris in Argentina, surrounded by strangers. They've had their wedding. Now they want their marriage. For it to be recognised and accepted.

Cathy Freeman discovered her identity

Cathy Freeman.  Image via Getty.
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You may think you know Cathy Freeman's story. A national treasure who triumphed at the 2000 Olympics to take home gold in the 400m Women’s Final.  Who joined the Australian and Aboriginal flags into one powerful statement and a celebration of her heritage. But do you know what led her to this moment? Through the television show Who Do You Think You Are, the sporting hero was able to explore and confront her family's ancestry. She discovered things she never knew about herself and her family, like the fact she has Chinese and English heritage. And last year, in a story crafted with The Moth, she shared how it fundamentally changed her.

"Had I known about the kind of struggles that my parents had endured... no doubt - I would've run a lot faster," she said. 

Katie Robertson went on a mission to have every child removed from detention. 

Katie Robertson. Image supplied.

When the human rights lawyer went to Christmas Island for work, she found herself surrounded by sadness and desperation. But instead of letting it swell and envelop her, she returned home to share the human toll of detention and make a change. There are no more children on Christmas Island anymore. But there are still 49 children in Nauru. If Katie has her way, that number will be zero soon too.

Carlotta is still battling for acceptance as a transgender women, and for others like her. 

Carlotta. Image supplied.
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The former Sydney showgirl, famous for being one of the first people in Australia to undergo a sex change, is closer than she's ever been to feeling comfortable in her own skin. She spoke about the humiliating hurdles she faced on the Fighting for Fair podcast in December, in the hopes that no one will ever have to go through what she went through.

"All through my life I've had this battle of being totally accepted for just being me," she said.

"I've never put a male or female title on myself, I'm Carlotta."

Krystal Barter dreamed of a world without breast cancer. 

Krystal Barter with her family. Image supplied.

And she did everything in her power to make that possible. From launching Pink Hope, a website for women with cancer who are in need of support and education, to standing by her friend throughout a legal battle to overturn a patent that barred scientists from conducting potentially life-saving research into the BRCA1 gene. As someone who was born with the BRCA1 gene, Krystal's bravery meant she became the first woman in her family not to face cancer.

Listen to all the incredible stories here:

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