In the wake of the tragic passing of young footballer, Dominic James, a student of St. George’s College in Jamaica, Team Jamaica Bickle, the New York-headquartered organization that provides hospitality support for Jamaican and other Caribbean athletes at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, has announced an immediate donation of 15 Automated External Devices (AEDS) – defibrillators – to schools across the island.
The official presentation and training took place on Friday at JAMPRO, 18 Trafalgar Road, Kingston 10. The Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Sen. Ruel Reid brought opening remarks.
Team Jamaica Bickle said executives of ISSA (Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association), principals and Sports Department Heads of the recipient schools, as well as representatives of the National Parent Teachers Association were in attendance. Training was conducted by experts from the Diaspora Healthcare Sector.
Team Jamaica Bickle said it has also partnered with the Jamaica Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (JAMEMTS), based at the University of the West Indies, who provided on-going training and support to recipient schools.
“We were in the process of sourcing defibrillators to present at a later date, but, in light of the recent tragedy, we’ve decided to accelerate the hand-over to these schools,” said Irwine Clare, chief executive officer and founder of Team Jamaica Bickle.
Clare said Team Jamaica Bickle began its “Defibrillator to Schools Program” in 2014 after the sudden death of athlete Cavahn McKenzie at a cross-country meet in Trinidad & Tobago.
That same year St. Jago School was presented with an AED unit in his honor at the Penn Relays. A medical area was also set up in tribute to Cavahn, with health care practitioners, led by the Jamaica Nurses Group of New York, which provided training in first aid and CPR to athletes.
Since then Team Jamaica Bickle said it has held training sessions, partnering with Jamaicans Abroad Helping Jamaicans at Home (JAH JAH) foundation, in providing base-line free heart tests to some 100 students and presenting another five units to the following schools: Cornwall College, Petersfield High, Green Island High, Vere Technical, and G. C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sport.
Team Jamaica Bickle said its goal is “to outfit each high school with an AED unit, adding that Jampro, Fly Jamaica, Tower Isle Patties and Caribbean Food Delights “have all lent their support to the program to facilitate the hand-over and training session.”
Schools receiving AEDs were: St. George’s College; and Excelsior, Camperdown, St. Catherine, Garvey Maceo, Spot Valley, York Castle, Marcus Garvey Comprehensive, Convent of Mercy ‘Alpha’ Academy, Oberlin, Herbert Morrison Technical, St. Elizabeth Technical, Charlemont, Dinthill Technical and Morant Bay high schools.