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UWI's Sickle Cell Unit hosts Christmas treat

Published:Friday | December 30, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Kevin Downswell
Joseph Emanuel

On December 16, 2016, the Sickle Cell Unit at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus, hosted its fourth successive Christmas treat, co-ordinated by medical social worker Alphanso Blake Jr. The treat was for children with sickle cell disease, up to 15 years old.

Blake and a team of volunteers packaged gifts for the children and, for the first time, gifts for adult patients.

This was made possible through sponsorship from Nestle, Wisynco, Restaurants of Jamaica, Restaurants Associates of Jamaica, Scoops Unlimited Ltd, Kirk Distributors, LASCO, Kremi, National Bakery, Tastee, Trade Winds, Supreme Ventures, Good Life Water, Prestige Bakery, Health Brands, General Stores UWI and Grace Kennedy, along with friends and family of the sickle cell community who donated and volunteered.




The treat began at approximately 10:45 a.m. The venue was decorated with the help of Caribbean Institute for Health Research staff members. Reverend Stephen Mullings led prayers and Joseph Emanuel sang well-known Christmas carols, some children joining him on stage.

The MC, Khrista-gae Sangsters, engaged the children in quizzes, a dance competition, musical chairs and a version of 'greetings across the world'. Eon and Robby soon joined the party with their artwork, girls and boys forming lines to have their faces and hands painted.

Emanuel returned to perform some of his popular songs, such as Are You Ready. After lunch was served, the children were in a jubilant mood and was graced by popular recording artiste Kevin Downswell. Both parents and children were teary-eyed and captivated by both performances, as the artistes encouraged parents to continue doing the good they are doing and encouraging the children by letting them know they are fearfully and wonderfully made by God.

Downswell closed his performance with his smash hit You Make Me Stronger. There was a surprise performance by Voicemail, who had the children on their feet dancing and singing. All the artistes also took the time to interact with the children by taking pictures and giving hugs.

The children's gifts comprised toys, care items, snacks, sweets and drinks, while the adults received more practical household items which can contribute towards meals. When the MC asked "are you ready to go home?" there was a resounding "no!". DJ Jimmy Q and DJ Rival played recorded music and photographs were taken by Dagpro Photography.