Boy decided to donate organs before losing life

CARTER COUNTY, KY (WOWK) – 10-year-old Vinnie Osborne-Brown tragically lost his life after a freak accident involving a tree last month.

Before the accident, Vinnie made a decision that would save several lives. After hearing about organ donations over the radio, he decided he would sign up to be and organ donor.

A few months after he made this decision, a tree fell on Vinnie and one of his brothers at their grandparent’s home in Floyd County. Vinnie was taken to Cabell-Huntington hospital and then put on life support.

On Aug. 19, 2020, Vinnie passed away.

During this difficult time, the Brown family says they have received a lot of support from not only those in their community but also across the state.

At the East Carter High School in Grayson, Kentucky, bikers and unique car owners came out for a fundraising cruise-in. Its purpose was to benefit Vinnie’s family.

Many who have shown their support for the family during this tough time are from the area, however, the organizers of the cruise-in were not.

Joshua Warren and his family traveled quite a distance from Morehead, Kentucky to host this fundraiser in Vinnie’s hometown.

We heard the news of what happened and we reached out to Vinnie’s parents and we wanted to do something.

Joshua Warren, event organizer

Vinnie’s father said they had never met Warren or his family before the accident.

We didn’t even know the guy that put all this together. He just saw a story on Facebook while we were still in the hospital.

Johnny Brown, Vinnie’s father

The family says they have received so much support from who they would have considered strangers. According to Vinnie’s mother, “they’re not strangers anymore.”

Over 100 participants came out to the cruise-in event and several traveled a long distance to be there.

Gary Burton and Chuck Littral rode their motorcycles from Lexington, Kentucky to show their support for Vinnie’s family.

Because of Vinnie’s decision, his mother says he became the hero he always wanted to be.

He said he wanted to be famous, he wanted to break world records and I think he’s done way more than that. He’s saving a lot of lives.

Elizabeth Brown, Vinnie’s mother

A little boy, a pledge, and now a future for others.

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Blood plasma donation: Who can donate blood plasma? How to sign up

Blood plasma has formed part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic this year, with doctors looking everywhere in search of viable treatments for the deadly disease. A few methods have already proven effective, including drug dexamethasone, while scientists work to develop a vaccine. Blood plasma has several uses, and donors can help other people fight off COVID-19.

Who can donate blood plasma?

Blood plasma is a yellow liquid which carries red and white blood cells and platelets around the blood.

People who recover from COVID-19 will have white blood cells geared towards fighting the disease.

Those who donate their plasma can pass on these programmed cells to those currently fighting the disease, helping them recover quickly.

READ MORE: Coronavirus breakthrough: Blood from recovered patients aids sufferers

NHSBT also provides a selection of other criteria disqualifying people from donation on their website, where they can also register their interest.

Some people may feel apprehensive about donating during a pandemic, but organisers have said doing so is entirely safe.

They have added increased COVID-19 measures such as cleaning, masks and more to shield donors.

An NHS Blood and Transplant spokesperson said: “Blood donation is as safe as possible.”

“We’ve put extra safety measures in place, and safety is always our number one priority.

“We’re spacing donors out, doing extra cleaning, our staff are wearing face masks, and we’re triaging everyone who arrives so only people with no risk factors can enter the donation area.

“We’re asking donors to follow the latest advice on our website and app and the advice from the Government.

“We’re constantly reviewing the latest information and putting in place measures where needed. Safety is always our number one priority.”

Donate to Beirut: How to help Lebanon recover after devastating explosion

Beirut is reeling from a massive explosion which hit on Tuesday, causing widespread devastation to the city. Up to a quarter of a million residents have been left with homes not fit to live in, with buildings decimated in the powerful explosion and subsequent shock wave.

The explosion came from a warehouse near the port in Beirut, where it has since been revealed an explosive chemical had been stored.

President Michael Aoun said in an address to the nation on Wednesday, 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate had been stored for six years at the port after being seized.

Ammonium nitrate is used in fertilisers and explosives and is believed to have been improperly stored – triggering the devastating explosion after a fire broke out in one of the warehouses.

President Aoun said: “No words can describe the horror that has hit Beirut last night, turning it into a disaster-stricken city.”

Read More: Beirut explosion pictures: Staggering damage caused by deadly blast

Donate to Beirut: Aid workers walking through rubble

Donate to Beirut: Charities are working to help those impacted by the devastating explosion (Image: GETTY)

Donate to Beirut: Helicopter putting out fire

Donate to Beirut: The explosion came after a fire broke out in a warehouse in Beirut (Image: PA)

He said the government was “determined to investigate and expose what happened as soon as possible, to hold the responsible and the negligent accountable.”

How to help Lebanon recover after the devastating explosion

The explosion hit Lebanon at a time the country had already been reeling from an economic crisis and fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, the damage from the explosion is estimated to be about $3bn.

Donate to Beirut: Debris and destroyed buildings

Donate to Beirut: The devastating explosion has reduced buildings to rubble (Image: GETTY)

Photos show the devastating impact on the city, with buildings crumbled to the ground, residents desperately searching for loved ones and debris littering the streets.

Volunteers are continuing to dig through the rubble to locate those missing, with the death toll expected to rise in the coming days.

There are a number of ways you can donate to help recovery in Beirut and to provide resources for those on the ground. has rounded up ways you can donate below.

Ammonium nitrate: What is ammonium nitrate? How explosive is it? [EXPLAINED]
Prince Charles heartbreak over Lebanon exposed: ‘It tore my heart out’ [INSIGHT]
Lebanon travel advice: Is it safe to travel to Lebanon now? [ANALYSIS]

Lebanese Red Cross

One of the main providers of ambulance services in the country is the Lebanese Red Cross.

The charity has said it will send every ambulance from North Lebanon, Bekaa and South Lebanon to Beirut to treat the wounded and help in search-and-rescue operations.

If you want to donate to the Lebanese Red Cross, you can do so by clicking here. 

Donate to Beirut: First aid worker

Donate to Beirut: Aid workers are helping those injured and displaced after the blast (Image: PA)

Baytna Baytak

Baytna Baytak is a charity which has been providing free housing to health care workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, the charity has pledged to raise money alongside Impact Lebanon to help the more than 300,000 who have been displaced due to the explosion.

Beirut’s governor has said half the city’s population have homes that are “unlivable for the foreseeable future.”

You can donate via the official JustGiving page here. 

Donate to Beirut: Children holding candles

Donate to Beirut: Three days of national mourning have been declared (Image: GETTY)

Impact Lebanon

Non-profit organisation Impact Lebanon has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help those responding to the situation in Beirut.

Impact Lebanon is also helping to share information about those missing after the explosion.

So far more than £4million has been raised, and the organisation donated the first £100,000 to the Lebanese Red Cross.

You can donate via the official JustGiving page here.

Donate to Beirut: Aerial view of Beirut explosion

Donate to Beirut: The explosion happened at a warehouse near the city’s port (Image: PA)

Impact your world

CNN has launched a crowdfunding page for those impacted by Beirut explosion.

There are six organisations which will benefit from donations, including

  • The American Red Cross
  • CARE – Cooperative For Assistance And Relief Everywhere
  • Humanity and Inclusion
  • International Medical Corps
  • Save the Children Federation
  • United States Fund for UNICEF

You can donate on Impact Your World’s page here.

Donate to Beirut: Workers transferring aid

Donate to Beirut: Aid has been sent to Lebanon from around the world (Image: GETTY)

How are other countries responding?

Offers of aid have been coming thick and fast from around the world since the explosion struck.

Gulf Arab states, who in the past were major financial supporters of Lebanon but recently stepped back because of what they say is Iranian meddling, sent planes with medical equipment and other supplies.

Turkey said it would send 20 doctors to help treat the injured, as well as medical and relief assistance. Iraq pledged fuel aid, while Iran offered food and a field hospital.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweeted: “We sympathize with the dear Lebanese citizens and stand by them in the painful tragedy of the Beirut port explosion …

“Patience in the face of this incident will be a golden leaf of honour for Lebanon.”

The United States, Britain and other Western nations, which have been demanding political and economic change in Lebanon, also offered aid.

Germany, the Netherlands and Cyprus offered specialised search and rescue teams.

Two French planes are expected to arrive with specialist rescue personnel and equipment, and President Emmanuel Macron is due to visit today.

Morrisons food bank scheme: How you can donate food parcels to charity

Morrisons supermarket has launched a new scheme to help get much-needed supplies into food banks. The coronavirus pandemic has left many families and individuals in dire circumstances, and many have turned to food banks to food on the table.

Now, Morrisons have created a handy scheme which allows shoppers to buy pre-made parcels at the till meaning you don’t need to pick out items and place them in a food bank bin at the end of your shop.

Dubbed ‘Pick Up Packs’, the packages cost between £1 and £3 and contain a mixture of items, dependent on what local food banks have requested.

The packages are made up of long life pantry foods, such as rice, pasta, cereals and tinned foods.

You simply pay the package at the checkout and ask for it to be taken to the food bank, so doing your bit couldn’t be easier.

The clever idea was put together by a Morrisons employee, Michelle Leary from Basingstoke, who noticed that many customers wanted to help vulnerable people in society but didn’t know what to provide.

Food banks often have problems with supply, as product availability means sudden influxes of certain products can hamper choice.

This scheme looks to tackle this problem, with pre-packaged good ready to go – all you need to do is hand over some spare change and help out a family in need.

It was trialled in several Morrison’s stores and was reportedly very successful, and will now go to a national roll-out in all stores.

“Enough is enough. We know this situation can be fixed – that’s why we’re campaigning to create a future where no one needs a food bank.

“Our benefits system is supposed to protect us all from being swept into poverty.

“Universal Credit should be part of the solution but currently the five week wait is leaving many without enough money to cover the basics.

“As a priority, we’re urging the government to end the wait for Universal Credit to ease the pressure on thousands of households.
“Ultimately, it’s unacceptable that anyone should have to use a food bank in the first place.

“No charity can replace the dignity of having financial security.”

Doctor can't donate plasma because he is gay

CHICAGO (CBS) — Dr. Dillon Barron is a frontline emergency room doctor on the city’s North Side.

He was also once a COVID-19 patient himself and has since recovered. But when he tried to donate his plasma to help save others, he was flat-out denied because he is gay.

Barron and his partner sat down with CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey.

Blood donation guidelines have been the center of controversy for years. But in the age of COVID-19, blood and plasma donations are crucial.

Barron and his partner, and their U.S. representative, are hoping it will be enough for change.

Barron cares night and day for COVID-19 patients.

“We saw lots of death, lots of sad stories, lots of young people,” he said.

Both he and his partner contracted COVID-19 themselves. It’s been a long, exhausting road, and they were excited to donating their anti-body rich plasma.

“I really felt passionate about doing something; wanting to be in control and feel like I was helping people,” Barron said.

But according to the Food and Drug Administration blood donation guidelines, there was zero chance – because men who have sex with men can only donate if they have not been sexually active for three months. That applies regardless of whether they’re in committed relationships or practicing safe sex.

“We’re sitting on something that could be saving lives,” Barron said.

One study found that blood banks could be missing out on hundreds of thousands of pints of blood due to this policy.

“Those won’t be available because of bigotry or laziness or people who don’t believe in science,” said Barron’s partner, Eric Seelbach.

So is the policy backed by science? We asked an HIV expert.

“Short answer is there is no science currently to support that,” said Dr. Anu Hazra, infectious disease physician University of Chicago and staff physician at the Howard Brown Health Center.

Hazra said the guidelines, “going from a lifetime ban, to a 12-month ban, to a 3-month ban, are based on 1983 regulations surrounding the HIV epidemic.

But testing and screening has improved dramatically since then.

Instead, Hazra advocates for “individual risk assessments for every donor, regardless of whether they are gay or straight.”

And that’s exactly what U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois) thinks. It’s part of House Resolution 989, introduced earlier this month.

“There is no reason behind it that’s based on science,” Schakowsky said.

We introduced Schakowsky to Barron and Seelnach. And they are all hopeful for some change.

“I didn’t realize that here were really awesome people in our corner who were willing to work on this,” Barron said.

“We really need to make progress, and what you are advocating is to help,” Schakowsky said.

House Resolution 989 was referred to committee.

Schakowsky is hopeful that the blood shortages caused by the pandemic will push legislators to pass it.