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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 Coworkers Donate Kidneys to Save Each Other’s Husbands

Coworkers Donate Kidneys to Save Each Other’s Husbands

Tia Wimbush and Susan Ellis worked at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for over a decade and were in the same department for five years. A mutual friend had told them they had something in common — Wimbush’s husband, Rodney, and Ellis’ husband, Lance, were experiencing kidney failure. After working from home during the start of the pandemic, the two returned to the office part time in September. One day, their schedules overlapped and they ran into each other in the bathroom. It proved to be a life-changing moment.

“We were already helping each other out, just being comforters and supporters,” Ellis said. “We bounced ideas off of each other and just really listened.” When the two women bumped into each other in October 2020 they caught up on each other’s situations and soon realized they could do more than listen. “We were going through the transplant process. Susan and her husband, he was already on the list, she had already gone through the process of getting tested and I had just started. And she had told me in the bathroom that afternoon that she and her husband were not a match,”

The two started talking about what blood type each of their husbands had — and realized that they could both be a potential match for each other’s husbands. Wimbush thought she could also be a donor for her husband, but helping her friends felt right. “We really felt strongly about trying to do this as a partner match. We were all here at this moment, at the exact same time, in the same place, going through the exact same thing. What were the chances that we weren’t meant to help one another” Wimbush said.

By the end of October both women found out they were donor matches for each other’s husbands. After some setbacks due to the pandemic and Lance’s health, the four were able to undergo transplant surgeries on March 19, 2021 — all on the same day. The friends have already seen changes in their husbands. “It’s hard to say this but I’m not sure Lance would have made it another year. He was slowly deteriorating, had enormous co-morbidities that were going along with his kidney disease and the dialysis. For us, it was the miracle of a kidney transplant that our husbands so desperately needed. But that’s how it ended. It didn’t start with that in mind, it just started with two working moms and faith followers that needed some camaraderie and compassion and some support for each other. It was just really a story of kindness” Ellis said.

Both women know they are lucky because many people on the donor list wait 7-9 years for a viable match and sometimes their time on the waitlist outlives them. Wimbush and Ellis said they hope sharing their story inspires others to open up — because you never know who you’ll match up with. Going through the transplant process together gave their families a unique bond. “We bypassed friendship and we are absolutely family now” Wimbush said.

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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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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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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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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Rhode Island Teen Reunites Owners With Repossessed Storage Units

Rhode Island Teen Reunites Owners With Repossessed Storage Units

A Rhode Island teen is being praised for his good deeds after he started buying repossessed storage units to help previous owners recover their belongings. Initially, Shane Jones, 16, started out bidding on the contents of the units as a way for him to make some extra cash over the summer. But it wasn’t long before the Wakefield teen felt that he shouldn’t profit from the items in the units. “I started out thinking that bidding at a storage auction was kind of like a yard sale, but now I know that’s not true. These people didn’t choose to give me this stuff. They didn’t have a choice. It’s almost like a duty to give it back” Shane said.

In August of last year, Shane found a storage unit auction in Providence near his home and decided to put in a bid of $100. He won the auction but when he went to visit the unit he began to feel sad as he sifted through the household goods, stuffed animals, personal mementos and other documents. “I realized then that this wasn’t the same as getting stuff at a yard sale. This guy was in prison, and his storage unit was auctioned off because he couldn’t afford to pay for it. This was probably everything he had left.”

Shane asked his parents Patrick Jones and Sarah Markey, to help him find the original owner’s mother. They eventually located the woman at a retirement home in Providence and then took a trip to return the storage unit’s contents. The woman was thrilled to be reunited with her son’s belongings. Her reaction was enough to spark Shane’s interest and inspire him to keep going.

Since embarking on the project last summer, Shane has helped reunite three families with the contents inside their former storage units. His next storage unit auctions came in October 2020 and January 2021. The October unit contained an address book, which Shane said he used to help him find the original owners’ family. “The couple who rented the locker had passed away, but there was a phone number for their brother-in-law, and he was happy to come out and get everything. He said there were a lot of family heirlooms that could have been lost” Shane said.

Shane easily found the owner of the January unit because her name was on several items. When he connected with the woman he learned she was unable to pay for the unit after losing her job and that she also lost a child to sudden infant death syndrome three years earlier. “All of her baby items and all of her childhood photos were in the storage locker” Shane said. When the woman picked up the items she started to cry saying everything she had to remind her of her baby was in the locker.

Since taking on the storage unit project, word has spread about Shane’s acts of kindness. His mother said that her son has been caught off guard by the attention of his kind acts but hopes that his story will inspire others to do good in their communities. “I couldn’t be more proud of this kid, for going the extra step, for people he doesn’t know. It is actually a lot of work that he puts into this effort. And I think that part of what he has learned by meeting people who he gifted with this kindness is that putting good into the world is one of the most gratifying things that he can do.” she continued.

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Wisconsin Father Breaks Push Up Record for Charity

Wisconsin Father Breaks Push Up Record for Charity

A Wisconsin father of three, broke the Guinness Book of World Record for most pushups in a year. Nate Carroll launched his mission on June 14, 2020 with two goals in mind, to teach his children a lesson in the power of perseverance by offering them an example in real-time and to raise money for the families of fallen first responders.

In order to claim a new Guinness World Record—ousting the current titleholder after an almost 32-year run—Carroll has been diligently documenting his accomplishments both in a logbook and with time-lapse video throughout his year-long odyssey. On June 6th, Carroll completed the countdown to his record-breaking goal with a special 50-yard line halftime ceremony during the 48th annual Fun City Bowl at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

When he completed his 1,500,231st pushup, he broke the previous record set by Paddy Doyle in 1989. After the record was broken Caroll said he wanted to finish his year in a number that included 9-11. He finished his 365-day period with a total of 1,500,911 pushups. It seems fitting since he was raising money for the Stephen Siller Tunnels to Towers Foundation.

The foundation’s Fallen First Responder Home Program pays off the mortgages for families of fallen first responders, so they don’t have to worry about losing their homes. The program, which has paid for 250 mortgages since 2014, is named for a New York City firefighter who died on Sept. 11, 2001.

Carroll has a full time job as a social worker and shared parental custody so finding the time during his busy schedule to clock thousands of push-ups per day was one of Carroll’s biggest challenges. “To set aside time to do 4,000 push-ups is impossible,” he told the Wisconsin State Journal. “You have to really make it a priority and be willing to commit to it and embrace the fact that you have to weave that into your day.”

Carroll said he wanted to show his children that it’s possible to achieve their goals if they’re willing to put in the work. He also wanted to show his children the importance of first responders in the community. “I wanted to demonstrate to my kids what goals that seem impossible look like when they are broken down into daily manageable chunks.”

During an interview Carroll said “Set a goal, and get after it. Make it who you are, not something you do. That way, when it gets hard and life throws obstacles in your way and offers you convenient excuses to stop or says it’s too difficult, you find a way to endure and persevere and keep after it. Winning those mini-battles each day builds strength and shapes one’s perspective of what is possible.”

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Florida Bride Donated Kidney 2 Days After Wedding

Florida Bride Donated Kidney 2 Days After Wedding

Just two days after her wedding, a Florida bride donated a kidney to her new husband’s former wife. Debby and Jim Strickland have been a devoted couple for a decade. Jim maintained a cordial relationship with his ex, Mylaen Merthe for the last two decades since their divorce. Around the same time their daughter announced she was expecting their first grandchild, Mylaen, who has long suffered from kidney disease, received some devastating news.

Her kidneys were functioning at just 8% of normal capacity and without a transplant, her odds of survival decreased every day. The hunt for a donor match was on. Mylaen’s brother wasn’t a viable candidate—but miraculously, Debby was. Debby said that she imagined Merthe’s daughter giving birth and her mother not being there to greet her granddaughter and that thought is what made her decide to volunteer. “I just couldn’t not try to change that. God told me, ‘You’re a match and you need to do this. When somebody needs an organ, if they don’t get it, they’re probably not going to make it. I know it’s something that you do quickly” Debby said.

Having lost a brother to cystic fibrosis while waiting for a lung transplant, she knew time was of the essence. With a green light on the tissue sample and blood tests, Debby willingly scheduled the life-saving surgery for just 48 hours after her previously planned nuptials. “It was the most amazing day of my life, until two days later. That was also the most amazing day of my life” she said. Mylaen and Debby have bonded and now refer to one another as “kidney sisters.”

Debby said that she asked to see Merthe straight away after she regained consciousness. She said she could immediately see Merthe was healthier already: the dark circles under her eyes had gone and she had regained a little color. “We had our masks on, too, so we’re crying, and of course, our stomachs were hurting because of the incisions,” Merthe said. “We kinda laughed and cried.”

Since the successful procedure, Merthe moved in with her daughter and son-in-law and her new grandchild to recuperate. Debby recuperated at home with Jim and their family of six foster children. The family has grown to include grandkids and Merthe and her family into their brood. The entire family has a summer trip together planned to celebrate. “This is what the world is about. Family. We need to stick together,” Merthe said. “She saved my life.”

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Massachusetts Teen Donates Scholarship

Massachusetts Teen Donates Scholarship

A Massachusetts teen, Verda Tetteh, 17, donated her $40,000 scholarship to community college students. She was awarded the scholarship known as “The General Excellence Prize.” during her graduation ceremony in Fitchburg, Mass. Moments later, she returned it and said it should go to a student who needed it more. During her speech, the Harvard-bound teen thanked donors for the scholarship, but said she knows she’s “not the one who needs this the most.”

Ten minutes after she accepted it, she walked back to the podium and apologized for interrupting the ceremony. “I am so very grateful for this, but I also know that I am not the one who needs this the most,” Ms. Tetteh said, her voice trembling. “Knowing my mom went to community college, and how much that was helpful, I would be so very grateful if the administration would consider giving the General Excellence scholarship to someone who is going into community college.”

She received a standing ovation from the audience, but said she didn’t make this sacrifice for the accolades — it was to honor her mother and students who also choose to attend community college. Tetteh’s mom enrolled in community college at age 39, and Tetteh said she is “in awe of her,” adding, “I think that’s something that’s very difficult to do. But she knew she wanted to improve her life and improve the lives of her children.”

Tetteh applied for the scholarship at the urging of her guidance counselor who told her to go for it because she’d worked hard. Every year the award goes to one male and one female student selected by a committee of teachers, administrators and guidance counselors. She figured it would probably go to someone else. Then, during her graduation ceremony from Fitchburg High School on June 4, the assistant principal announced she was the winner.

She moved to the U.S. from Ghana when she was 8 years old and recently graduated with a 4.9 G.P.A. Harvard had agreed to pay her tuition and room and board. Her hard work has also qualified her for other scholarships that would cover college expenses. Robert Jokela, the district superintendent, said that he remains awed by Ms. Tetteh’s spontaneous announcement.

Jeremy Roche, the school principal said that at least 40 percent of the students at Fitchburg High School go to community college when they graduate. “A lot are first-generation students,” Mr. Roche said. “A lot of them are students who are the first to graduate high school in their family. There are many families here who work really hard and don’t make a lot of money.”

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