BURN VICTIM GETS WISH
After teen burn victim Adrianna Laing completed more than two dozen surgeries and made a miraculous return to Jamaica from the United States of America, where she underwent life saving procedures, the survivor had one more big wish.
She yearned to attend the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships, and on Saturday, at the National Stadium in St Andrew, that wish was granted.
Adrianna’s wish reached the ears of Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia “Babsy” Grange and immediately special arrangements were made to accommodate her and members of her family at track side.
In fine style, Adrianna’s wish unfolded before her eyes and her relatives basked in the moment with her.
Adrianna received loud cheers from the crowd and enjoyed the races in awe. She was pleased by the stream of current and retired athletes and dignitaries who came to greet her.
Former 100-metre sprint record holder Asafa Powell; Olympian Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce; US Ambassador to Jamaica N Nick Perry; Minister of Education Fayval Williams; Leader of the Opposition Mark Golding; and president of ISSA Keith Wellington were among the people who extended warm and kind greetings to Adrianna, welcoming her back home.
Adrianna, who lost her three brothers in the massive fire at their home in Westmoreland on September 4 last year, was airlifted to the United States of America in less than 24 hours after being severely burnt in the blaze.
After having to deal with her own personal pain coming out of the incident, having received burns to more than 90 per cent of her body, Adrianna mourned the death of her brothers, five-year-old twins Jayden and Jorden Laing, and eight-year-old Adrianna Laing.
The boys’ and girls’ championships proved to be a good source of entertainment and relaxation for the teen.
“Champs was so very exciting. It’s my first time being at Champs and I’m excited that I got to meet Asafa and Shelly-Ann. I thank Minister Grange and the other people who helped me go to Champs,” she told the Jamaica Observer on Saturday.
Her close relative, Amonique Laing, who was in the thick of things with her at the National Stadium, was happy and relieved that her cousin survived the fire and that she could sit with her and enjoy fun times again.
“I was very excited that my cousin took me to Champs. I enjoyed myself. I had fun and we laughed a lot,” she shared.
Observing the politicians who visited Adrianna at track side, one onlooker remarked to the Observer that they should work together to ensure Adrianna gets all the help that she needs. The woman was concerned that Adrianna was still without a home, after it was destroyed by the fire that killed her brothers. The woman said that Government must move quickly to give her a proper house and continue to give support to her on the road to full recovery.
When Adrianna returned to Jamaica on March 30, Morland Wilson, Member of Parliament for Westmoreland Western, said at a press conference that Adrianna will receive a house through the Government. He did not say when that would become a reality.
“The process has started. Prime Minister Andrew Holness has made preparations for Adrianna to get one of the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) programme houses. She will get a two-bedroom home for her and her father. The process has started. There are some documents to be signed,” Wilson said then.