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Canouan hosts fund raiser in support of Rotary Club South’s Hospital project

Canouan hosts fund raiser in support of Rotary Club South’s Hospital project

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04.JULY.08

Fund raising efforts by the Rotary Club South of St.Vincent and the Grenadines took on a new and spirited dimension in Canouan on Saturday June 28th 2008. The Canouan Island Council (CIC) hosted an exceptional day of activities in support of the Rotary Club’s Children’s Hospital project.{{more}}

The CIC is an elected group of persons by the residents of Canouan, whose primary function is to convey information throughout the community regarding various activities and plans on and for the island and additionally to select and distribute community related activities funded by the CRD Group of Companies.

Albert Ollivierre, President of the CIC explained how this most recent project was addressed. “We were initially approached to sponsor the Old George and Butcher walk, and to host a fund raising dinner. We felt that such a magnanimous project deserved the support of the entire community”. Ollivierre noted that it was not very difficult to get the necessary support: “We discussed the idea with various members of the community including our benefactors CRD Ltd, and we received a most favourable response. We even got assistance from businesses on the mainland”. The donations ranged from a catamaran trip for eight, two return tickets to St.Lucia, and a television set, food and novelty gift items, cell phones and phone cards.

Outgoing President of the Rotary Club South, Cecil McKie said that he was very impressed with the CIC’s organization of the day’s event. “We are truly grateful to them for the extraordinary effort that they made to ensure that the day’s event was so successful”.

The day started with a Barbecue and Fair on the grounds of the Canouan Government School, during which several of the donations were raffled or offered in a Chinese Auction, and many stalls were operated including a cake sale, and various children’s games and activities. Early evening saw a talent show at the school, and culminated with a dance.

The highlight of the day however was the awareness walk around Canouan by acclaimed athletes Earl “Old George” Daniel and Joel Butcher. Ollivierre pointed out that all of the funds raised on Saturday will be donated to the Children’s Hospital Fund.

The genesis of the Children’s Hospital project dates back to 2002, when the Rotary Club South, the Ministry of Health and the Environment and the International Hospital for Children (IHC) of Virginia collaborated to provide medical services which were not available in the region for persons below the age of 21. To date, more than two hundred surgeries costing over 13 million dollars have been performed under this programme. “Over time, it became evident that there is a dire need for these types of interventions, and that it is critical that these interventions be readily available and affordable”.

McKie outlined the objectives of the project: “We aim to raise one million EC dollars to build a Children’s Hospital”. The hospital will be constructed in St.Vincent and the Grenadines, but will exist for the benefit of the entire Caribbean. “In the interim, we also need funding to expand the existing phase of the project, particularly to provide and maintain the specialist equipment used in these surgeries” he added.

The Rotary Club South felt that given the importance of the project, it was important to find high profile events and individuals to endorse their efforts. Currently, the Rotary Club is investigating the possibility of having the Children’s Hospital included on the agenda of the upcoming regional meeting of Health Ministers. Additionally, the club felt that a joint undertaking with the internationally recognized, local walking duo of Old George and Butcher would bring some much needed attention to their mission.

The next step for the unique team is an eight day walk from New York to Toronto. This walk will take place in August/September of 2008. The pair first teamed up in 2002 to prove the personal benefits of persistence, discipline and will power. Since then, they have completed many record breaking walks, and their objectives have extended to include promotion of the Children’s Hospital project, and inclusion of their record breaking feats in the Guinness Book of Records. The pair has acknowledged that the eight day event will present several challenges, however Butcher pointed out that they are continuously putting measures in place to mitigate these challenges and Old George added that they anticipate that the walk will be an all-round success.

McKie said that the promotion of the North American event has already started through emails, and will continue at town hall meetings and various leisure events scheduled for the months leading up to the big walk. He took the opportunity to remind Vincentians and persons throughout the Caribbean to continue to make contributions to the project and to keep their North American counterparts updated on the event, and he urged Caribbean nationals in North America to witness the walk and donate to the fund.

CIC President Ollivierre stated that his organization was delighted to have co-ordinated the Canouan leg of the awareness and fund raising drive for the Children’s Hospital. “It was an excellent effort and I thank and congratulate all of the persons involved. I am very proud of the response and the results”, he stated.

CIC also manages and distribute donated funds from CRD LTD to charitable and social events, provide daily meals for the aged and participate in many other community related programmes on Canouan. One of its major undertakings is the secondary school scholarship programme. This programme is now in its 7th year and has sponsored more than 47 Canouan students.

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