We Care Foundation gives $8.25-million boost to CRH
MONTEGO BAY, St James — The Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) last week received a well-needed cash injection of $8.25 million from the We Care Foundation.
The figure represents $7.25 million raised from the staging of the Rainforest Seafoods Festival at the Montego Bay Entertainment Centre on Ash Wednesday, combined with another $1 million raised through former 100-metre world champion Yohan Blake's YB Afraid Foundation. Blake is a native of Montego Bay.
The money will go towards the renovation of the operating theatre at the hospital's Accident and Emergency Ward.
An elated Dr Delroy Fray, senior medical officer at the CRH, was overcome with joy as he expressed his gratitude for the donation. "We want to thank We Care for this generous donation that they have given to us," he said.
"It is very important in an accident and emergency area that you have an operating theatre where you can do minor life-saving procedures that make a difference in the patient's outcome. We welcome this and we are going to fix our theatre in such a way that we can give quality care to our patients," an appreciative Dr Fray said.
The We Care for Cornwall Regional Hospital Foundation, which is chaired by Sandals CEO Adam Stewart, was launched in 2011 by a group of 'Montegonians' concerned about the welfare of the facility which is located in the resort city.
During the inaugural staging of the Rainforest Seafoods Festival last year, over $6 million was raised by organisers. That money was used to purchase equipment for the CRH's paediatric ward.
Speaking at the handing-over ceremony last Thursday, Brian Jardim, CEO of Rainforest Seafoods, said the seafood festival will be an annual event.
"It's an annual event which saw about 10,000 patrons at this year's staging; we had a little setback with the weather, unfortunately, so it was a little less than the previous year [but] next Ash Wednesday we will be out there," Jardim said.
He explained that the amount raised this year was slightly under what was projected, due largely to a heavy afternoon downpour which may have caused potential patrons from venturing out to the Catherine Hall venue. Nevertheless, more than 8,000 supporters streamed into the Catherine Hall venue where they were given a musical treat which featured top dancehall and reggae acts such as Busy Signal, Konshens, Tarrus Riley, Etana, John Holt and gospel singer Kevin Downswell.
Tank-Wed Metals, during Thursday's ceremony, donated 20 wheelchairs, valued at $400,000 to the hospital.
Markus McKenzie, general manager for Tank-Weld Metals, Montego Bay, said his company came aboard after the We Care Foundation appealed to corporate bodies to support the hospital.
"I just want other sponsors to look at the effort that is being made, as none of us know at which time we may need the services [of the hospital]; many, many persons stand to benefit from this effort and we would love others to come aboard and support the initiative," McKenzie said.
"We see this as a very, very worthwhile effort and to the extent that Rainforest has gotten aboard and really done their best in this project we really want to support them all the way," added McKenzie.
Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson, who was in Westmoreland for the Bethel Town & Neighbouring Communities Association Inc (BTANCA) health fair, hailed the We Care Foundation for its assistance to the health sector.
"We are extremely grateful for that and we want to congratulate We Care for continuing to demonstrate, not only by name, but by their donations and their involvement with the health sector," Dr Ferguson told the Jamaica Observer.
"We are eternally grateful for that and that's the kind of public/private partnership that is bringing value to the health sector and helping to close the gap created by the fallout in budgetary support," said the minister.