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The gift that keeps on giving

Wednesday, July 04, 2012    

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The young doctor, who recently graduated from medical school at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, is the daughter of Jamaica Observer newspaper vendor Althea Smith (no relation to Lena).

Three months ago the Observer brought to light the inspirational story of Smith, a single parent, who used her earnings from selling newspapers and working at a laundromat on Waltham Park Road, Kingston, to send her only child to school, from the early childhood level through to the UWI.

The story garnered the attention and admiration of Lena Smith, a Jamaican who has lived overseas since 1948 and prompted her to journey across the seas with her granddaughters to present Dr Sutherland with her first "doctors whites" or lab coats which she will wear while on duty at hospital.

Dr Sutherland said Smith's gift was divine providence, because, ironically, she had just returned from a fruitless search for the very same coats and was uncertain where she would source them.

Smith said she was taken by Dr Sutherland's humility and how she stood beside her mother to sell the paper. She also praised her academic brilliance and ambition despite her difficult circumstances. She said she felt an instant connection with the young doctor who reminded her of her granddaughter who is about to study medicine.

Smith presented the coats while committing to provide Dr Sutherland with a steady supply of them as required over time.

Dr Sutherland will commence her duties at the May Pen Public Hospital, in Clarendon on July 29.

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