The video stories that made us smile, laugh and cry in 2012

The year is coming to an end and ’tis the season to look back at the stories that defined 2012. These are the stories of inspiration, happiness, sadness, and most importantly, hope.

Through out the year we heard from children who were looking to make a difference for one last time and from future chefs who honor ancient Latin cooking traditions.

Before we jump into the new year, we thought we take a trip down memory lane and enjoy one more time the top 10 video stories that made an impact on us this year.

Junot Diaz on finding your voice

Junot Diaz

During one of our episodes of Cafecito, we were joined by proud Dominican author and recipient of the 2012 MacArthur Foundation Genius Award, Junot Diaz. The first Latino to sit on the Pulitzer Prize board of jurors discusses his first inspiration as a young boy, his latest book, and navigating through different worlds to find your dream. Watch the complete episode here.

Six-year-old cancer patient starts Halloween costume drive

At left, brain cancer patient Nico Castro as Batman. At right, Nico from about a month before he was diagnosed. Nico's mother said he likes wearing Halloween masks because they make him look like a regular kid since the chemo and radiation have left him without hair.

At left, brain cancer patient Nico Castro as Batman. At right, Nico from about a month before he was diagnosed. Nico’s mother said he likes wearing Halloween masks because they make him look like a regular kid since the chemo and radiation have left him without hair. (Courtesy Marlene Castro)

Like most six-year-olds, Nico Castro loves Halloween. But the little superhero is fighting a real life villain – cancer. When Nico found out a break in chemo meant he would get to celebrate his favorite holiday, he couldn’t wait. But he wants his friends at the hospital to have a Halloween, too. So the idea of giving one kid a costume quickly took monster proportions – costumes for all. Watch the story here.

Yale professor on a mission to heal burn victims

Angelica-Innovator

With cutting-edge research in one of the top universities in the country and her bubbly personality, there was no doubt Dr. Anjelica Gonzalez would be part of NBCLatino’s innovator series. Growing up in a Mormon community just outside of Las Vegas, Gonzalez never pictured herself one day teaching classes and conducting cutting-edge research at one of the nation’s most prestigious Ivy League universities, Yale. Gonzalez is passionate about using her research to help burn victims and patients with compromised immune systems recover from physical trauma faster and more effectively than ever thought possible. Watch her story here.

Clowning around is a dream come true

Clowning Around

On the outside, it’s called ‘the greatest show on earth.’ But on the inside, this young Mexican American performer, Ivan Vargas, calls this circus home. “My dream was to be in the circus. My parents were in the circus, I always wanted to do it,” says Vargas who is following the steps of his trapeze mom and dad. But landing the job wasn’t easy since he would become only one of 25 clowns in the entire Ringling Brothers universe. Watch the story here.

Olympic gold medalist on being a role model

Brenda Villa, 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist

Gold medalist and four-time Olympic athlete Brenda Villa not only led the U.S. water polo team to victory but also made an impact on our readers. As the squad captain, she has gained a reputation for being one of the best female water polo players in the world and a role model for Latina athletes. Before she stood on stage to receive her gold medal, Villa shared with us how she aspires to be a role model for future athletes after growing up with very few athletes that looked like her. Watch the story here.

Latino mastermind behind Marvel Comics

Axel Alonso, Marvel editor-in-chief

As a Mexican-American, Axel Alonso, Marvel editor-in-chief, feels that his heritage allows him to relate to the readers and the superheroes he is responsible for creating. But readers’ fascination with comic book villains and heroes can also take a turn for the tragic, as seen during the Colorado theater shootings. During our interview with Alonso, he contended that comic books and super hero movies were not to blame. Watch the story here.

Thieves steal Little boy’s pet pony

Thieves steal boy's pet pony

While many kids’ Christmas lists are growing, there’s only one thing a 4-year-old boy from Lamont, California is asking for from Santa. He wants his miniature pony back. Someone stole it from the family’s backyard. Watch the story here.

California Marine travels to New York to help hurricane victims

Marine helps Hurricane Sandy victims

The devastation of hurricane Sandy was felt across the nation, motivating many to extend a hand for those who were affected. When Marine Leo Melendez saw images hurricane Sandy’s after math, he knew he had to help. Melendez had no ties to the east coast and had never been there, but he grew up in Puerto Rico and remembers being hit by hurricanes and flooding. Watch his story here.

Twelve-year-old boy with cancer has one wish

Nathan's Wish

Twelve-year-old Nathan Garcia was battling brain cancer, and unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse. He hoped to make his 13th birthday, but not for gifts he would get. He wanted to collect toys for other kids in the hospital, while he fought on from home. Nathan dreamed of playing for USC. His room was filled with football trophies and autographed reminders. Days after the story aired, Nathan Garcia lost his battle with brain cancer. But before he died, he got to see his 13th birthday wish to collect toys for kids in the hospital come true. Watch his story here.

Flavors conference celebrates Latino food and History

These were just the some of the many chiles discussed during the presentation. (Photo/Betty Cortina)

These were just the some of the many chiles discussed during the presentation. (Photo/Betty Cortina)

They came from the four corners of United States and from as far as Brazil and Peru for a two-day conference where the ingredients of choice were native to South and Central America. Among the star chefs was a group of students from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America San Antonio that showed NBCLatino how to prepare a traditional Peruvian Pachamanca – cooked in an ancient Andean method. Watch one of the students explain the process here.

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