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American Red Cross Helps Virgin Islands Heart Patient

Written by: Nicole Breitbach

Wilber Payne is a resident of St. Thomas who suffers from a chronic heart condition. Typically, his special medicine is flown in from the continental United States. Due to Hurricanes Irma and Maria, air transport became limited and his medicine was not able to be delivered to the island. Not knowing where else to turn, Payne reached out to the American Red Cross looking for a solution.

Payne’s request was given to two volunteers, recognizing that it may be challenging to accomplish. After working with the community hospital in St. Thomas, they were able to communicate with the continental United States to find a way to create and prepare the medicine on the island. Payne was overjoyed to receive the medication, and shared that he was already starting to see side effects. If he had to wait a few more days, he would have had a very serious outcome.

Red Cross workers have been working to help people on USVI since before the storm hit the island.

  • On the U.S. Virgin Islands, 555 people stayed overnight in 7 shelters.
  • More than 270 Red Cross trained disaster workers are supporting relief efforts in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and over 40 more are on the way.
  • Along with our partners, the Red Cross has served more than 52,000 meals and snacks across the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • We’ve distributed more than 63,000 relief items across the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Red Cross volunteers have provided more than 2,500 mental health and health services to support and care for those affected.
  • About the American Red Cross:

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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