Paymaster joins Shinnia Porteous on mission to stay alive

Paymaster joins Shinnia Porteous on mission to stay alive

Sunday, July 05, 2015

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Little Shinnia Porteous is about to get a new lease on life, after Paymaster Limited last week stepped in to sponsor a pacemaker, which the seven-year-old desperately needed to replace the old device, that has helped to regulate her heartbeat since she was 11 months old.

Shinnia's pacemaker was scheduled to be placed earlier yesterday by a team of cardiac surgeons at the Bustamante Hospital for Children (BHC), just a week after her mother, Carin Crooks appealed for help.

The device, which regulates a person's heartbeat, through electrical pulses, had expired from May 28. Shinnia's mother only became aware that her daughter's life was in jeopardy when a cardiac surgeon broke the frightening news to her at a June 18 check-up at the BHC. Crooks said she was told then that the pacemaker was not functioning properly and that it must be urgently replaced, or Shinnia could die.

After the Sunday Observer told Shinnia's story last week, help started pouring in for the Calabar Infant and Primary School student. At the same time, corporate multi-payment company, Paymaster Limited and the J Earl Thompson Foundation rushed to foot the US$3,500 tab for the crucial device.

On July 2, Paymaster officially handed over the donation to Shinnia's overwhelmed mother at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI).

Acting Chief Medical Officer and Medical Chief of Staff at the UHWI, Professor Trevor McCartney, and Barbara Garcia, Manager of the operating theatre and intensive care units, were on hand for the presentation.

"Honestly, I hugged the lady about four times. I'm so happy," Crooks told the Sunday Observer from her daughter's bedside at the BHC on Friday.

Crooks quietly admitted that she was "a bit worried", as Shinnia, whose energy had belied the seriousness of her condition for weeks, was now looking drained. Nevertheless, Crooks said she was holding strong to her faith, that Shinnia would pull through the delicate surgery.

Vice President, Marketing, Sales, Client and Corporate Services at Paymaster, Natalie St Louis, who expressed the company's eagerness to assist, explained that: "Paymaster has been concerned about the most vulnerable in the society, especially in the areas as health and education and as such, has always found ways to facilitate and assisted in such area.

"Therefore, it was not a surprise that the CEO of Paymaster, Ambassador Audrey Marks would have shared these causes on social media and received overwhelming positive responses to encourage participation and partnerships to facilitate contribution to these worthy causes. Given her philanthropic nature, she has also reached out to the Diaspora to help in many ways and therefore when contacted by J Earl Thompson foundation regarding helping little Shinnia Porteous it was a 'no-brainer' for Paymaster to have facilitated and made it happened".

St Louis said that the outreach was natural for Paymaster as the company has always "had a caring heart".

"We are happy for Shinnia and her mom and wish her all the success in her surgery. She is a very bright and spirted child and deserves the chance to live and continue to be a success. Indeed, Shinnia's mission will be accomplished, thanks to the kind hearts of these good Samaritans and the medical teams at the UWI and Bustamante Children's hospital," she added.

Crooks said she is extremely grateful to Paymaster and the J Earl Thompson Foundation, as well as co-worker Kathy Grant, Lorna Riviera, and other average Jamaicans, who swiftly stepped in to help Shinnia, and her family, by extension, when they needed it most.

She said that persons have still been contacting her, and that she has had to turn down new offers, because Shinnia now has what she needs. The elated mother has decided that the additional funds, which came in before the Paymaster intervention, will be set aside for Shinnia's follow-up care, and to go towards the purchase of another pacemaker in the future.

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