Group works with hospital to help Caribbean children

By RON FANFAIR

Fourteen-year-old Mariea Harrinarine returned to Guyana earlier this month with a smile on her face after doctors at The Hospital for Sick Children performed surgery to repair an abnormal curve in her spine.

The Caribbean Children’s Foundation (CCF) contributed $25,000 while the Herbie Fund provided the rest of the financial support for the successful operation.

Harrinarine is among 45 kids and young people from the Caribbean who have benefitted from the CCF’s generosity in the past nine years.

“It started off with a few friends having an annual picnic and we would do a raffle and send the funds accrued to the Georgetown Hospital in Guyana to help children in need,” said CCF president and realtor, Jay Brijpaul. “In 2000, it was brought to our attention that a young Guyanese child needed urgent heart surgery and we later found out the cost would be around $80,000. It was difficult to raise those funds in such a short time and the hospital would not do the surgery because they wanted their funds to be secured before they went ahead.”

Faced with the dilemma, Brijpaul and some of his friends and associates formed the CCF to raise funds to help young people in the Caribbean secure medical help in Canada.

“This is an organization with credibility and the doctors normally do an assessment before the child is brought here,” he said. “We have a close relationship with Sick Kids Hospital based on trust so they would now go ahead and do surgeries, knowing fully well that they would be paid in full from the funds we raise.”

The CCF has raised over $1 million in the past nine years and the funds have helped patients suffering various ailments ranging from anus and rectum malformation, cancer, pulmonary hypertension and brain tumors to congenital deformities and urinary tract and eye disorders.

At one of its four annual major fundraisers last Saturday night, the CCF honoured individuals and organizations that have made contributions over the years.

Donations can be made to TD-Canada Trust at branch 1550 and account number 0305003.

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