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7 days ago · by · Comments Off on Seven Year Old Cancer Survivor Celebrates Last Treatment by Donating Thousands of Toys

Seven Year Old Cancer Survivor Celebrates Last Treatment by Donating Thousands of Toys

A seven-year-old cancer survivor with a big heart wanted to show his gratitude after completing his chemotherapy treatment. Tripp Hughes completed his treatment at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City and his thought was, ‘How can I give back and help other kids that are going through tough things?’ He and his mother, Krista Hughes, started a toy drive that amassed thousands of toys for other kids going through treatment.


During the pandemic, patients are not allowed to share toys, so they go home with the children. Supplies were low and this is typically a slow time for toy donations. “They’d offer anything to make us just feel as at home as possible,” Tripp said. “So, we just wanted them to also feel the way that they made us feel.” Tripp and his mom started the toy drive and it just kept growing. They collected 4,400 toys packed into more than 100 boxes. “We just wanted to make sure that we got everything the hospital needed to be able to give back what they gave us,” Krista Hughes said.


Young Tripp was four years old when he was diagnosed with pre B-cell near-haploid acute lymphoblastic lymphoma. Tripp’s mother said the family was determined to face the challenge head-on and with positivity. She said the first 8 months were the most challenging but they had physical and emotional help from the hospital staff. “His team is just amazing. We’re so happy to have Children’s Mercy here,” she said. “Every single person you come into contact with helps the process feel ok.”


Krista said “He’s really impressed all of his doctors. His energy was always sky high, positive mood, never really let it affect him for the age that he is. He was always very mature for everything he was going through.” Tripp said “It’s just been a rollercoaster, every single pill I’ve been taking, every single day for two-and-a-half years.”


He wanted to celebrate his last treatment by thanking everyone at Children’s Mercy. His Toy Drive began as a few posts on social media, then it grew to involve benefit concerts and viral TikTok videos. “This has just exceeded our expectations. We had no idea it was going to get this big,” Krista Hughes said. Together, they donated a U-Haul packed with toys, blankets and other supplies to the hospital for other kids still in treatment.


Children’s Mercy staff said their supplies are running extra low. Summers are slow for donations and almost every toy is single use now because of COVID-19 safety precautions. They say Tripp’s gift couldn’t have come at a better time. Gregg Rosenboom, In-kind Giving Coordinator for Children’s Mercy described the donation as Christmas in July at the hospital. He said “He just went through a really tough time in his life and his thought was, ‘how can I give back and help other kids going through tough things?’ That’s awesome.”

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2 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on California Teen Invents Fire Suppression Device To Help Save Homes From Wildfires

California Teen Invents Fire Suppression Device To Help Save Homes From Wildfires

A California teen, Arul Mathur, invented a solution to help combat California wildfires, allowing regular citizens to take fire protection into their own hands. Inspired by the 2018 Camp Fire, Mathur says he developed FACE, or Fire Activated Canister Extinguisher. FACE is an autonomous fire suppression device that releases retardant when it detects fire. When placed in strategic locations, FACE can prevent homes from burning down, according to the teen.

Mathur launched a Kickstarter campaign https://bit.ly/3jPycyQ on July 1st with a goal of $5000 to make FACE available to the public for the impending fire season. So far it has raised over $13,000 and all the revenue generated will be donated to install FACE devices in fire-prone areas that need them the most. A single device is capable of protecting fire-risk areas in one’s house, while multiple can form a defensive perimeter around one’s entire property against low to moderate intensity fires.

“Over the past three years, there have been almost 7,500,000 acres of wildfire in California alone, destroying nearly 50,000 structures,” describes Arul Mathur. When a sensor on the device heats up to a certain temperature, a glycerin element bursts within, releasing an eco-friendly fire-retardant spray 5-6 feet in all directions with the aid of a sprinkler. The retardant can be re-filled quite easily, and the only other human-controlled aspect is the initial introduction of air-pressure into the canister which can be done manually through a valve at the top. Each unit will retail for $120 after production begins.

Mathur said in the summer of 2019, a wildfire spread so fast, coming from 10 miles away, it threatened to force his family to evacuate their home. “Thankfully, due to the bravery and diligence of my local fire department, the fire was contained and our house was saved but many other people weren’t so lucky.” That’s when he first began designing and engineering FACE. Mathur said he reasoned that by owning self-activating fire suppression, individuals no longer had to be reliant on the fire department to save their homes. “Firefighters could focus on containing the fire, while we, as residents, could control the fate of our property,”

The only existing market alternative for F.A.C.E is a manual extinguisher, or an automatic sprinkler system, which unless it can be installed during construction of the house, will normally cost between $1 to $3 dollars per square foot, amounting to many thousands for a family home. While 5-6 feet of spray isn’t enough to stop large fires, but if enough FACE units are placed in strategic areas, neighborhoods or rural communities can work together to prevent brush fires from becoming wildfires, or living room fires from becoming house fires. Mathur says “The ultimate goal is to bring FACE into the hands of everyone who lives in fire-prone areas so that they can protect themselves and their properties.”

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2 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on South Carolina Man Repairing Donated Cars For Those In Need

South Carolina Man Repairing Donated Cars For Those In Need

A rural South Carolina restaurant owner has been transforming lives by repairing broken cars in his spare time and giving them away in his community where there is no public transportation, Uber or taxi service. Eliot Middleton owns Middleton’s Village BBQ and is also a trained mechanic who started repairing and gifting the cars as a way to honor the memory of his father, who was a mechanic.

To get the cars, he trades a plate of ribs from his restaurant, Middleton’s Village BBQ, to anyone willing to part with a broken-down vehicle. Since he started this in September 2020, he’s collected 100 cars and surprised 33 community members with a repaired vehicle – without asking for a single thing in return. “You don’t have a car, you don’t have a career. How will people who have no reliable buses, no Ubers, travel to the city, where they would be able to find bigger jobs at the port authorities or manufacturing centers?” Middleton told CNN. “They can’t walk 40, 50, 60 miles to great jobs – they have to settle for small-end jobs that pay well below what they need to survive. Giving someone a car can change all that, and it does change all that. I want to help everybody looking to better themselves when transportation is what’s holding them back” he said.

He said the idea first came to him in November 2019, when he organized a food drive to distribute 250 boxes of his barbeque. When he ran out of boxes, he walked outside and saw a line of people still waiting for food that was two blocks long. As people started walking away, he caught up to them and learned many had walked 3 to 4 miles to get the food because they didnt have a car to get there on time. Hearing that left him feeling distraught. “That was the turning point in my life when I made the decision to actively give my time and skills to give back to my community.”

Eliot started a nonprofit, Middleton’s Village To Village Foundation and a few friends started helping him repair the cars. Middleton, who owned a car repair shop with his dad before he opened his restaurant said “I like working on cars with a lot of problems because that’s my time to relate to my father, speak with him, because that’s what we’ve always done together. It makes me feel like he’s right there. It’s helping me as much as it’s helping the people I give the cars to because this is allowing me to cope with the fact that my dad’s not here anymore.”

After the story of his selfless deed was aired on nationwide TV, Eliot received an outpouring of donations including more than 800 cars and thousands of messages from people offering their help and services to assist his mission. The GoFundMe he started in March has also raised over $130,000 from people around the world in just 2 weeks. Eliot raised the goal to $150,000 after it surpassed the $50,000 goal and updated the GoFundMe. “Thank you to all the most generous individuals who have donated their hard-earned money to helping people get access to safe, working vehicles. We started this project with a goal of raising $50,000, but your outpouring of support has allowed us to double that amount and make an even bigger impact. This small but mighty group of mechanics will continue to work our hardest to get as many vehicles in our shop and ready to hit the road.”

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3 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Graduating Class Donates Funds Raised For Class Trip to Island Community

Graduating Class Donates Funds Raised For Class Trip to Island Community

The island of Islesboro lies three miles off the mainland with 700 full-time residents. Graduating classes at Islesboro’s Central School consist of 13-15 students who traditionally fundraise to finance a once-in-a-lifetime class trip at the end of their final semester. Former student destinations include Paris, Iceland, Norway, and Panama.

The Class of 2021 had already garnered close to $8,000 in donations through fundraising efforts from working at concession stands, holding harvest and winter festivals and hosting community suppers before pandemic lockdowns prevented further fundraising. Like classes before them, they envisioned a journey to Greece, Japan, or South Korea before their hopes were quashed by COVID-19 travel restrictions. With their plans curtailed, the group decided to spend the money they’d earned a whole lot closer to home by reinvesting it in their community.

The bulk of their earnings was donated to the Island Community Fund in aid of residents whose livelihoods were broadsided by the COVID-19 pandemic. Another portion was put to good use funding coronavirus vaccination clinics. The rest will go to philanthropic causes as yet to be determined.

The pandemic hasn’t been easy for many and the tight-knit island community has felt the effects keenly. Five of the Islesboro Central School seniors take the ferry from the mainland, while the rest live on the island but the group was accustomed to doing things together. They were also split apart, unable to gather for months, with a three-mile gulf between the island and the mainland.

The seniors kicked off an email chain to discuss what to do about the trip. International travel was a no-go, so Greece, South Korea and Japan were no longer options. They thought about scaling it back to do a regional trip but the world’s struggles weighed on them as they tried to justify salvaging an exotic outing against a backdrop of deaths and economic pain.

One graduate, Olivia Britton said “It felt sort of obvious that it needed to go back to the island community.” Another, Liefe Temple,explained that the group said it would have felt strange to indulge in the luxury of foreign travel when they knew their neighbors were suffering such extreme day-to-day duress. “We could really see how the whole world and the island, too, was struggling. So it felt really good to do that with our money—to give it back to the people who gave it to us.”

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3 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Therapy Dogs Offer Support Rescue Workers of FL Building Collapse

Therapy Dogs Offer Support Rescue Workers of FL Building Collapse

As rescue efforts turned to recovery in the aftermath of the Surfside Building Collapse, the scope of the loss of life is clearer as search teams work into lower levels of a debris pile that is growing smaller each day.  Rescue crews have been working tirelessly during the search despite the emotional toll but therapy and comfort canines are on the scene to provide support for the rescue crews.

Therapy dogs from Miami Dade County Fire Departments are on the job, which represent a variety of large and small dog breeds. Bonnie Fear, of the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry brought nine golden retrievers from out-of-state to the site of the collapse to help first responders cope.  The retrievers are staying at the Holy Cross Lutheran Church while they wait to be called into action.

“These dogs are here for you,” said Bonnie Fear.  “A lot of times the first responders come up, they’ll fall to their knees, they’ll start crying or they’ll smile. We try not to say anything, we let the dog be the bridge for those people to grieve the loss, whatever they’re feeling.”  Comfort canines work similarly to therapy dogs—their job right now is to help rescuers cope with the emotional toil of the collapse.  Comfort dogs are a strong and well-proven therapy for depression, anxiety, and other forms of distress.  

Capt. Shawn Campana, a veteran of the Miami Dade Fire Dept, said “We are now very well aware that we can potentially be impacted by stress like PTSD, like suicide ideation, and that is what this team was designed to prevent. When a human does what we call friendly petting, which means we get our fingertips into their skin, our bodies release oxytocin.”  Oxytocin is a hormone that creates feelings of comfort and happiness, and as much as these dogs can give to the first responders the better.

The dogs are near the site of the collapse to provide support for rescue crews and family members of those still missing.  As recovery work continues, the therapy dogs have spent time near a memorial site by the fallen tower, as well as at a Red Cross family assistance center donning blue vests that read “Please Pet Me,” and have been met by thankful individuals sporting both smiles and tears.  Fear said  “We’re very concerned about their mental health.  Our prayer is that they make it through, they find what they need to mentally process and to know, in their minds, that they found someone’s loved one, they made a difference for the families. And I hope they hang on to that.”

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3 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Alabama Teen Raised $39K For St Jude’s Cancer Research

Alabama Teen Raised $39K For St Jude’s Cancer Research

An Alabama teen raised $39,000 for kids battling cancer by cutting off his 19 inch Afro. Kieran Moïse, 17, was set to enroll at the United States Air Force Academy which of course required a haircut. Rather than lament the loss of the hair he had been growing since childhood, Kieran decided to turn the rite of passage into a charity event benefiting two causes to which he feels a deep connection-St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and Michigan-based Children With Hair Loss.

He explained on his fundraising page “I have been growing my hair out for many years with the goal of donating it to charity. Now that it is time to shave it, I would like to raise $1,000 per inch for St. Jude’s Hospital. My hair is 19 inches long and that $19,000 will do so much good to help families dealing with cancer. One of my good friends in middle school died from cancer and I know St. Jude’s really helped his family. This is just one way that I feel like I can give back. It will also help make some really good wigs for kids! Please donate and help me reach my goal!”

During an event held at a local Huntsville, Alabama, brewery Kieran submitted to being shorn in front of a crowd of nearly 100 enthusiastic supporters. His lengthy tresses were forwarded to Michigan-based Children With Hair Loss, a nonprofit that provides human hair wigs free of charge to kids and young adults suffering from medically related hair loss will both receive the funds raised. To date, he’s also raised more than $39,000 in support of cancer research at St. Jude.

Kieran’s parents Patrick and Kelly Moïse have chronicled the growth their son’s amazing ’do over the course of his life and understand just how much cutting it off meant to him. “My son has always had a huge heart. He was determined that if he was going to have to get a haircut anyway, then he should pay it forward in a way that would help as many people as possible,” Kelly said.

Kelly added “Kieran hopes his story will encourage others to find ways to offer help and hope to those in need. He wants people to know that if he can donate his hair, then anyone can and he’s hoping that everyone will be encouraged to go out there and commit their own small act of kindness.”

Richard C. Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital said “Charitable giving comes in many forms, from direct acts of kindness to impactful public statements that motivate others to come together to support a cause. Kieran’s simple act of kindness exemplifies the power of younger generations and is something to celebrate, a selfless decision that will make a direct impact on the lives of the kids at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and children everywhere for years to come.”

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4 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Missouri Teens Hailed Heroes For Saving Woman During Flash Flooding

Missouri Teens Hailed Heroes For Saving Woman During Flash Flooding

Two Missouri teens are being hailed heroes for saving a woman from drowning after a June storm dumped six inches of rain over Columbia, Missouri with little warning. The fast moving storm caused flash flooding with creek waters bursting their banks, causing overflow zones to turn into ponds.

Boyscouts Joseph Diener, 16, and Dominic Viet, 15, were exploring the scene of their hometown to survey the damage after the massive rainfall flooded parts of the city. The two, along with a few other friends, were biking past a basketball court when they heard someone calling for help. The group of teens saw a woman in a bathing suit, clinging to a basketball hoop that was nearly entirely submerged in the floodwaters. The young woman was desperately trying to keep her head above water under the force of a current.

The two took “about 30 seconds” to realize they had to take action, Joseph said. There was a small group of people gathered near the woman already, Dominic said. “We didn’t have time to think, her head was barely above the water and we could see her sinking more down every second. We didn’t think about the risks, we had to get her out.” The two teens hoisted her up onto their shoulders because her legs were cramping. “There were some currents trying to pull us down too, because — I don’t know —it’s not normal water,” Dominic said.

The two were able to get her to solid ground where she started throwing up water. Emergency services arriving at someone else’s call performed first aid and rushed her to the hospital. Assistant Fire Chief Jerry Jenkins described the boys’ act as heroic and brave, as did Dominic’s mother Monica Viet, who had been calling her son to warn him of another storm rolling through and was growing nervous. She sent her husband to where they were located and when he saw the ambulance and fire truck, she said her heart sank. “You know, my mind went to the place where he was the one who was injured,” she said. “I didn’t realize that he was out there saving somebody! But then he saw them on their bikes heading back to their friend’s house, and I got a text from Dominic saying ‘Coming home soon, just saved a woman’s life Mom.’”

The fire department honored the two boys with a “Citizen Life Safety Award” for their heroic rescue. Both teens are Life Scouts, which is the last level before Eagle Scout. Neither are working on any lifeguarding skills as part of their upcoming projects, but their scoutmaster, Morgan Dailey, that they might get badges for their honorary action. “There’s a heavy emphasis on being prepared and especially being prepared for emergency situations and this clearly was an emergency situation.”

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4 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on GoFundMe Raises $53K for Oklahoma Man Walking 17 Miles to Work

GoFundMe Raises $53K for Oklahoma Man Walking 17 Miles to Work

Many people believe that being just one person, they can’t possibly change someone’s life but sometimes all it takes is one person’s kindness to spark the efforts of many. Michael Lynn of Moore, Oklahoma certainly didn’t expect to ignite a spark when he offered Donte Franklin a ride on a hot day but their paths crossing has resulted in an outpouring of donations including a new bike and $53,000 raised through a GoFundMe campaign.

Lynn was out running errands on a sweltering hot day when noticed a young man walking. On his way back, he noticed the same young man—still walking—and decided to offer him a ride. Lynn was so moved when he learned more about Franklin’s 17-mile work pilgrimage to his job as a cook at Buffalo Wild Wings, he couldn’t help but share the details of Franklin’s story on Facebook—where it was quickly shared more than 1,000 times.

To make it to his shift as a cook, Donte Franklin was leaving for work three hours early each day and trekking more than eight miles on foot to arrive on time. At the end of a full shift, , the 20-year-old walked the 8 miles home. Franklin credits his amazing work ethic to his late mom, who passed away four years ago. Franklin said life hasn’t always been a clear path for him after his mom died and his siblings raised him. “I had to be positive,” he said. “I had to grind to make a better me, to make my momma happy. I really don’t care if it gets tiring. I just have to keep pushing, I walk just to make my family proud.” Franklin is studying to become a welder and just needs more money to continue to help his family, even if it means hiking to work in scorching temperatures. “I’ve just gotta keep going. It’s all going to pay off in the end,” Franklin said.

One of the people who saw Lynn’s Facebook post was Kerri Collins. She and her husband are the driving forces behind a biker charity group called My Riding Buddies Oklahoma and Bikers for Elves (MRBO). “Anytime I see something posted concerning anybody anywhere in Oklahoma, I immediately jump in and we do whatever we can as a group,” said Collins. “It just touched me that this man is only 20 years old and is walking to two different jobs with nothing in the heat. It opened my heart because kids his age don’t do that.”

In appreciation of his extraordinary efforts, MRBO gifted Franklin with a brand-new bike prior to his next shift. While Donte’s commute got easier, the blessings didn’t end there. Inspired by the young man’s determination, a GoFundMe page was set up in his name with the goal of $2,000 to help him buy a car. The GoFundMe raised $15,000 in one day and by the end of the campaign had raised a total of over $53,000

Donte Franklin says he considers everything that’s happened to him to be a blessing and believes that he and Lynn were fated to become friends. Lynn shares that sentiment “As long as he wants to, I want to keep him in my life and I want to be in his life. I told him, if the Lord opens the door for you, walk through it… I think it’s open for him and the rest is up to him.”

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Wisconsin Man Hopes To Raise Awareness For Living Organ Donation

Wisconsin Man Hopes To Raise Awareness For Living Organ Donation

Wisconsin man, Mark Scotch, is biking cross-country to raise awareness for living organ donation. He and his crew are making the 1,500-mile trip down to Louisiana to meet up with the man who inspired him to donate a kidney last year. They are starting with some 100+ mile days to get themselves south to warmer weather and spread the message of the importance of living organ donation.

Scotch, of Plover, Wisconsin met Hugh Smith at a brewery in Louisiana in early 2020 during a vacation. The two men struck up a conversation at Cane River Brewing Company in Natchitoches. Smith mentioned he needed a kidney transplant. “He said he was on dialysis and in stage five kidney failure. I just said hey, if you need one, I’ll give you one of mine. And one thing led to another, and here I am!” Scotch said. Scotch didn’t end up being a match for Smith but could donate a kidney in Smith’s honor, through the National Kidney Registry.

“So I went online, got registered. They found a match for my kidney, the best match for my kidney was in New York and that was last September 30,” Scotch said. That donation by Scotch bumped Smith to the front of the transplant waiting list and he was able to receive a new kidney from another donor in February 2021. Smith was a professional jockey for 17 years and battled with pain but didn’t know that the pain medicine he was taking would lead to kidney failure.

For a year, both men went through constant medical appointments to make sure they were okay after their surgeries. Then Scotch decided to show the world that even without a kidney, you can still live a full life. On April 24th, 2021, Scotch started The Organ Trail bike ride from Madison, WI to Natchitoches, LA. The ride ended at the same bar both men met in 2020. “This is absolutely amazing what he did, and he saved my life,” Smith says.

Scotch said “Hey if I can do it on one kidney, an old kinda fat guy, why can’t anybody consider it at least?” He said he hopes the trek generates interest so people learn more about living organ donation. He knows not everybody can be a living donor like he was but everybody can be an advocate and educate themselves. Then if the opportunity ever presents itself, maybe they can help somebody else with some good information or lead them somewhere to the National Kidney Registry or National Kidney Donation Organization.

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Michigan Community Saves Couple’s Wedding Day

Michigan Community Saves Couple’s Wedding Day

A couple’s wedding was like a fairytale until tragedy struck. Elizabeth and Jake Landuyt’s reception was interrupted just minutes after Elizabeth’s father began giving his speech because the cottage next to their wedding venue caught fire on Mackinac Island, Michigan. The newlyweds had to abandon their reception and without a plan of where to go, headed back toward the church they had just married in.

Guests piled back into the church and began to pray for everyone’s health and safety. While they were in the church praying, unbeknownst to them, angels were at work trying to save the day. Mission Point Resort and other nearby businesses saw everything unfold and immediately sprang into action to save the wedding. The resort staff immediately started getting tables and chairs set up to host the reception.

The chef at the venue took all 120 meals — which were only partially prepared — and instructed the staff to bring them to safety at the restaurant next door. What they didn’t have, another restaurant provided. Other obstacles that were overcome were that Mackinac Island doesn’t have cars, so the migration of the wedding had to be done manually. From catering and supplies by the Island House Hotel kitchen and the Pink Pony, bartending led by Mission Point’s head bellman, late evening ferry services by Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry to entourage assistance, it was all taken care of.

Word spread of the effort to save the wedding and powered by the kindness of strangers, they achieved their goal. . A bellhop volunteered to bartend and a stranger on the street carried the flowers to the new location. In under an hour, the community had banded together and relocated the reception, all while the newly married couple and guests prayed.

“As if this island was not already special enough to us to want to have our wedding there. After what we saw, the ‘Magic of Mackinac’ and its people are so real and we are forever grateful,” Mrs. Landuyt said. To top off their special day, their prayers for those involved in the fire were answered. In the end, no one was hurt and even the building was saved.

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