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Thank you!

Special Olympics Jamaica hails corporate kindness in time of crisis

Thursday, April 09, 2020

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SPECIAL Olympics Jamaica (SOJ) Executive Director Coleridge “Roy” Howell has hailed the support provided by partners as the organisation battles to ensure the welfare of those linked to their programmes.

Howell noted that the spread of the novel coronavirus presents an acute threat to those with special needs because many of them have pre-existing health conditions and hence are among the most at-risk people.

“These athletes are among the most vulnerable, and we have to make sure we monitor them,” he said.

The SOJ executive director told the Jamaica Observer that the help of volunteers and corporate partners have been invaluable.

“It's great that the sponsors and the partners are helping and supporting us at this time. They've shown a lot of interest in the athlete's safety and we are working together with these folks. They do what they can and they try to find out how the athletes are handling this,” he said.

“We must be very grateful to UNICEF for helping us with materials and videos and instructions to cope with this situation at this time. With the help of supporters — both co-ordinators and partners we are really trying to do the best that we can.

“When you look at the 4000-odd athletes that we have out there in the 14 parishes, we look at athletes who are not employed and who are from low-income families, it's good we have partners and sponsors so we could donate to a few things.

“We can't give everybody but we are doing what we can and we're seeing how more can be done to help as much as we can. We have to make do with what we can. we can't go out and make promises that we can't manage,” Howell said.

Last month, LASCO Distributors Limited, in collaboration with the Jamaica Constabulary Force, donated personal care and non-perishable food packages valued at $200,000 to Special Olympics Jamaica.

Law enforcement agencies, through the fund-raising capacity of the Law Enforcement Torch Run, have also continued to pledge their support.

SOJ is also a beneficiary of the annual Melbourne 5k Run/Walk — the latest edition was held early last month.

Telecoms provider Digicel and its foundation have also been a major long-time sponsor of Special Olympics Jamaica.

Through sport activities and competition, the Special Olympics movement focuses on breaking down barriers that exclude people with intellectual disabilities from mainstream society.

Intellectual disabilities can either be acquired or genetic, and can include cases of cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism, and traumatic brain injury.

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— Sanjay Myers

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