Athletics

$52m target!

Sagicor targets $52 million as 21st Sigma Corporate Run launched

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, January 10, 2019

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Emotions ran high at the Jamaica Pegasus yesterday as Sagicor Foundation launched the 21st staging of its Sigma Corporate Run with a target of $52 million for the February 17 event.

The Sigma Corporate Run, which has blossomed as the Caribbean's largest road race event since its inception in 1999, has impacted a significant number of lives over the years and organisers continue to chart the course in aiding the improvement of Jamaica's healthcare sector.

Olympian Yohan Blake and Jamaican-born international Supermodel Stacey McKenzie, who have both lent their faces to the cause as patrons of this year's event, were among those who fought back tears, while reflecting on the needs of many Jamaicans, particularly those living with chronic illnesses.

McKenzie, who grew up in Allman Town, expressed gratitude for the opportunity to play her part in giving back.

“It means a lot to me as a Jamaican growing up here; I know a lot of children and our people are in need of help and it is very hard for them to get the help like that.

“So for Sagicor to have a foundation like this and giving back to communities and youth in such a way is a big deal and for me, being able to have a platform that I could give back in some way, shape or form is great. I feel like the Most High put me in the position that I am in for me to share and give back, so whatever I can do to give back, I am here,” the Canadian-based fashion model and runway coach told the Jamaica Observer during the launch at the Talk of the Town situated on the 17th floor of the hotel.

Sigma Corporate Run's $50 million haul last year took the tally to over $350 million raised since its inception and anticipations are high for what should be another spectacular staging, as Sagicor seeks to expand its contribution of lifesaving medical equipment across the island.

This year the prayers of the May Pen Hospital Neonatal Unit, Lupus Foundation and the Diabetes Association of Jamaica will be answered, as all proceeds from the event through registration, tent rentals, donations and purchase of Sigma branded items, will go to these institutions.

Sagicor Foundation's Chairman R Danny Williams pointed out that after seeing the value of these entities and the communities they serve, Sagicor felt compelled to take them under their wings.

They will join some 30 other institutions that have so far benefited from the Sagicor Sigma Corporate Run.

“These are all causes near and dear to us at Sagicor and we know that the benefit to these organisations will be tremendous with so many lives being positively impacted.

“We realise that there are several challenges facing our country's healthcare sector and we thank those who dedicate their lives to taking care of those in our society who have critical and chronic health concerns. We know we can't fill all the gaps, but we will continue to give our support in the ways we can,” Williams declared.

Christopher Zacca, president and CEO of Sagicor Group Jamaica, who also got emotional as he recollected an experience with Neonate's at Spanish Town hospital last year, has high expectations for this year's staging.

Spanish Town Hospital's Neonatal Unit and the St Christopher's School for Deaf were the beneficiaries from last year's record turnout of 26,519 registrants.

“I think this is going to be our biggest and best year; it keeps growing from strength to strength and I want to see 30,000 people and $60 million, if we get $52 million and 27,000 people, I will be happy.

“With the kind of enthusiasm and energy that I see around Sagicor Sigma Run, I think we will get there because Jamaicans love to support Jamaica and we are just happy to have such distinguished patrons year after year,” Zacca told the Observer.

Meanwhile, Lurline Less, chairperson of the Diabetes Association, was also on the emotional side as she pointed to the significance of being a beneficiary.

“When I was coming here this morning I was told that there are two kids with Diabetes Retinopathy going blind and also has kidney failure and there are three more kids with kidney failure.

“I am trying to explain the extent to which this benefit will go because having a mobile unit courtesy of this Sagicor event will take us to the length and breadth of Jamaica, so we will be screening persons for diabetes so we can identify diabetes early. So we welcome this event to raise the awareness of our people, in our schools and communities,” she noted.

Early bird registration is a cost of $1,200 per individual participant for race day. This will close on January 18, at which point full cost for registration will be $1,500.

The registration process will close on February 1. Registration forms can be accessed online at sagicorsigmarun.com.


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