The Jamaica Down's Syndrome Foundation (JDSF) has declared its fifth Lift Up Downs Benefit Concert a success after an amazing showing of support from the entertainment industry, corporate Jamaica, and local and international charity organisations.
The event was held at Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre on March 26 to raise funds which will be used to assist people living with Down syndrome.
Every March, the JDSF takes the opportunity to raise money and awareness for the Down syndrome community in observance of World Down Syndrome Awareness Day on March 21. This year the foundation returned to the public sphere alongside its membership, sponsors and big-name media and entertainment personalities like ZJ Sparks, Terri-Karelle Reid, Laa Lee, and Dwight Richards.
"This is the first time we've been able to host this concert since COVID, and it has been an immense outpouring of love and support," said Dr Charmaine Scott, founder of JDSF. "There have been so many individual and corporate donors who have embodied the mantra that 'it takes cash to care', and we cannot thank them enough for putting their money where their heart is."
During the concert, Life Transformers Foundation donated $150,000 to support two members of the JDSF in need of specific medical assistance.
Individuals with Down syndrome are at increased risk for a variety of vision-related issues including cataracts.
Visiting international guests also made their way to the stage to contribute monetary donations.
The line-up of performers, who donated their services to support those with Down syndrome and their families, were an inspiration.
Not originally slated to perform, the small axe Jesse Royal surprised guests with a moving performance.
"I wasn't supposed to be here, but when I came and saw all the beautiful faces I had to touch the stage," said Jesse Royal before handing over the microphone to Laa Lee, who invited several young adults and children with Down syndrome to perform dances alongside him.
Dwight Richards and Friends certainly won over the crowd, belting out great reggae and gospel hits, and even inspiring host Terri-Karelle Reid to dust off her dancing shoes and skank to a tune.
Up-and-coming artistes Pastor Stephen Blake, Mario Evon, Tahirah Elizabeth, and Chris Malachi also donated their time and voices to 'Lift Up Downs'.
The foundation's patron, Marigold Harding, was grateful for the remarkable show. She took the time to explain that, "Since its inception, all proceeds from Lift Up Downs have been used for medical interventions and educational grants for our members, significantly improving their quality of life."