Sigma Run: 'These three...but the greatest of these is charity'

Thursday, January 23, 2014    

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We understand and share the joy of the charities that will this year benefit from the Sigma Corporate Run.

Professor Minerva Thame, who heads the Special Care Nursery at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), tells us that she almost did a somersault on being informed that the nursery was chosen this year by Sagicor, the organisers.

Dr Jennnifer Knight-Madden of the University Hospital's Sickle Cell Unit, Professor Graham Serjeant of the Sickle Cell Trust, and Dr Maolynne Miller of Jamaica Kidney Kids Foundation all expressed gratitude to Sagicor for choosing to share the proceeds from the road race among them.

Everyone is naturally happy to receive funding support, especially as resources are so scarce all round. However, these charities easily recommend themselves.

Based on the stories we have been publishing in the Daily Observer since Tuesday, each charity is in great need of equipment necessary to help save the lives of ailing children. The Special Care Nursery, for instance, needs incubators, ventilators, vital sign monitors, phototherapy lamps, and infusion pumps. The Sickle Cell Unit and the Trust, we are told, need equipment to carry out universal screening of newborns for the disease, while Jamaica Kidney Kids Foundation wants desperately to be able to provide dialysis services to children afflicted with kidney disease.

It is encouraging that after the Sigma Run on February 16 these charities will most likely be able to breathe a bit easier, especially if Sagicor manages to raise more than the $17 million it has targeted from the event.

Sagicor, therefore, should be commended for this effort which, we note, has benefited a host of charities over the past 15 years, among them Jamaica Foundation for Cardiac Disease; Sophie's Place; Mustard Seed Communities; Bustamante Hospital for Children; University Hospital of the West Indies; Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre; National Blood Transfusion Service; Jamaica Aids Support for Life; Cornwall Regional, Kingston Public, May Pen, Victoria Jubilee, Savanna-la-Mar, and Mandeville hospitals; Jamaica Society for the Blind; Jamaica Association for the Deaf; Chain of Hope Jamaica; Jamaica National Children's Home; and Best Care Lodge.

These are all institutions eminently worthy of assistance, for they provide a range of services to Jamaicans in need of special care, and touch people that our cash-strapped government service could never reach.

But while we commend Sagicor, and indeed other organisations that do corporate good, we must lament the fact that vital services -- such as those provided by the Special Care Nursery, Sickle Cell Unit, Sickle Cell Trust, and Jamaica Kidney Kids Foundation -- are limited because of the inability of the State to fund them adequately. We acknowledge that our economy is not in the best of health, and everyone knows that the State is hardpressed to meet the demands of all sectors.

However, we cannot feel proud as an independent country when we have difficulty providing these vital services to those who need them.

This, certainly, is further proof that we urgently need to get our economic house in order.





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