Athletes provide support to children at Bustamante Hospital

By Howard Walker
Senior staff reporter

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

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The Yuletide season should be one of joy and happiness and several athletes including Olympic 100m silver medallist Sherone Simpson and history-making bobsledder Carrie Russell took time out from their busy schedules yesterday to make sure children at the Bustamante Hospital will have a wonderful Christmas.

Simpson and Russell were joined by fellow bobsledder Audra Segree and Sprintec's track athletes Shasha-Lee Forbes, Anastasia LeRoy, Ronda White, Tovia Jenkins, Yanique Thompson, and Oshane Bailey in presenting 10 cases of water, 22 bottles of paediatric electrolytes and books to children at the hospital.

Simpson, who gave birth to a daughter in late 2016, told the Jamaica Observer it was a joy to assist these needy children at the hospital.

“It means a lot. When Freddy (James) called and asked for our assistance to give water and electrolytes to the kids I said yes immediately,” shared Simpson, who had a historic tie for second-place in the 100m final at the 2008 Olympics.

“As a new mom, I am very happy to give back and I know with paediatric electrolytes it is very, very important for the children. So I am very happy just to see the smiles on their faces,” she noted.

Shashalee Forbes, the 2017 World Student Games 100m champion and 2018 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) 200m gold medallist, was just excited for the occasion.

“It's a great feeling being a part of this group. We did it last year but it wasn't here. This is my second time doing this and kids are very appreciative of what we came here to do today,” noted Forbes.

She continued: “Kids overall need to know that Christmas is special and I am glad we are here to do that.”

Meanwhile, the man behind the gesture, Fred James, thanked Lasco for providing the electrolytes and the books and Crystal Springs for the water.

“I give to homeless people and other medical facilities twice a year during the Easter and during Christmas. I bring Jamaican athletics representatives to meet and treat the kids and the homeless and the athletes look forward to it every year,” said James.

“It's never a problem getting them together to come and help out. They look forward to it and I actually get great pleasure from doing it. I have been doing it twice a year for three years,” said James.

“The kids look forward to it big time because they only see these athletes on TV and they want to interact with them one on one, get autographs, take pictures with them, get a hug from them and that makes all the difference in the world from them.”

Camille Wallen-Panton, chief executive officer of the Bustamante Hospital for Children, welcomed the initiative with open arms.

“It is very good. Water is always welcomed and having the electrolytes it is one of the products that the children can take. We welcome this and I am sure most of all the children will be happy to see the athletes,” said Wallen-Panton.

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