It was a happy occasion at the Digicel Headquarters in downtown Kingston on November 12, when five organizations were awarded funding from the proceeds raised during the month-long Digicel Virtual 5K. A total of J$7.5 million was donated this year. Held in October, the virtual event was a first for the foundation which has hosted its annual fundraiser on the streets of downtown Kingston for the past 9 years. The new format invited persons from across the globe to participate and donate towards Special Needs. “When COVID-19 hit, like the rest of the world, Digicel Foundation realized we had to pivot,” said Charmaine Daniels, CEO of the Digicel Foundation. Daniels went on to thank corporate sponsors and donors, saying, “We couldn’t have done it with you.” To date, the Digicel Foundation has raised J$69 million (US$493,000) for Special Needs organisations through the annual 5K event. This year’s funds will benefit the Jamaica Association for the Deaf, the Jamaica Autism Support Association, Early Stimulation Plus, Jamaica Downs Syndrome Foundation, and the Promise Learning Centre. “I am happy to be here with my Digicel Foundation family and our wonderful beneficiaries,” said Chairperson Jean Lowrie-Chin. “The Digicel Foundation, through the vision of our generous Founder and Patron Denis O’Brien, has over the past 15 years, invested over US$38.2 million in Jamaica, completing 1,279 projects and supporting 679,747 individual Jamaicans, islandwide. This is made possible by our enthusiastic staff members, and our dedicated partners.” Sponsor, Magna Rewards, was also present at the ceremony. Senior Accounts Manager, Sereta Thompson Wilson, presented Daniels with the funds donated by customers who redeemed their Magna points to assist the Digicel Virtual 5K. Other sponsors included: The LAB, National Outdoor Advertising, Sportsmax, Loop, Suncity, KLAS, Nationwide, Visual Vibe, LOVE FM, Mystique Integrated, Main Event Entertainment Group, Motion Roc, Running Events Limited, Paymaster and Anbell. Corporate donations were also made by: Sagicor, The Jamaica Biscuit Company, MEC Construction, Dutch Construction, First Caribbean CIBC and Inami Management Services. The five organisations will begin implementing their projects immediately. All of these projects will incorporate technology to assist persons with Special Needs during and after the pandemic. “In these challenging times, it is more important than ever for us to unite, and to lift each other up,” said Lowrie Chin. “Always - we are Better Together”!
The University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) is increasing its capacity to offer lifesaving therapy to COVID-19 patients with the donation of a plasma-apheresis machine from the Digicel Foundation. A cheque for J$8.5M was presented to the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) and the UHWI on November 24 at Digicel’s Downtown headquarters. Purchased through a donation from the Digicel Foundation and Digicel Group, the apheresis system is currently a leading part of treatment for severely or critically ill COVID-19 patients in other countries. The new machine will double the capacity of the hospital to apply this method of therapy, which uses the antibodies of a person who has recovered from COVID to treat persons with the illness.