Thu | Dec 8, 2016

Charles Mattocks hosts diabetes mission in Jamaica

Published:Wednesday | November 19, 2014 | 12:00 AM
World Diabetes Day 2014 with celebrity chef and international diabetes advocate Charles Mattocks. Here, he samples Matthew's quesadilla (Pierce Azan looking on) at the Stella Maris Church Hall in St Andrew on Friday. Looking on is Miss Universe Jamaica Kaci Fennell. - Brian McCalla\Freelance Photographer

On Friday, celebrity chef and International Diabetes Federation's (IDF) Blue Circle champion Charles Mattocks and his team put together an event, to rival many across the world, to commemorate World Diabetes Day at the Stella Maris Prep School in St Andrew.

Usually, Mattocks would be on CNN, The Today Show or Dr Ozz to celebrate World Diabetes Day. However, with diabetes being a leading cause of death in Jamaica, he felt this was an event that needed to happen in the island.

Many are unaware that the international symbol for diabetes awareness is the Blue Circle and Mattocks is the face of diabetes around the world. A Type Two diabetic himself, the Orlando, Florida, United States-based nephew of the late reggae legend Bob Marley is a Blue Circle Champion for the International Diabetes Federation and author of a new cookbook with the American Diabetes Association, in addition to his children's cookbook which is an Amazon bestseller.

He is also the producer of a documentary based on diabetes that he and his team have been shooting around the world titled The Diabetic You. Mattocks has also embarked on the first ever diabetes reality TV show, Reversed, which will take eight people into Mattocks' home and will bring together the best in diabetes from around the world to help them live their best life despite having diabetes.

"Our World Diabetes Day 2014 celebrations was a first in Jamaica and to have the strong support of the many sponsors, including Wealth Magazine and Adam & Eve Day Spa, and all who came out to help and be part of this was so amazing. This was about educating the next generation," he said.

"We have a responsibility to do this and we hope it pushes the other agencies to cut the red tape and just get things done. If our team of three persons can put this together in just twenty days, then the various governmental and non-governmental agencies who ought to be doing this year round should be able to bring this together more often."

With the theme of this year's World Diabetes Day laid out from the IDF as 'Diabetes: Protect Our Future', Stella Maris Prep School was chosen because, as Mattocks states, "They are like family and very easy to work with. The children are also very receptive to healthy eating and the location is easy for all to attend. We also plan on doing this in other schools across the island."

GREAT TURNOUT

With many big names in attendance, such as the Gleaner's Terri-Karelle Reid who hosted the event, Miss Universe Jamaica Kaci Fennell working with the children and popular fitness expert Kamila McDonald leading a fitness segment for all in attendance, this was an amazing event done with the right partners, who joined hands with Mattocks this year on his quest to raise awareness for diabetes and education in Jamaica.

The event was also highlighted by a healthy cooking demonstration by Latoya Panton and her team of young chefs, all below age 12. Her eight chefs prepared breakfast items that blew the judges away and wowed the audience. There were rewarded with many prizes provided by Rainforest's Seafoods, Chas E Ramson, Lasco and Guardian Group.

The event was also endorsed by the Ministry of Health and the National Health Fund and saw top officials in attendance, including Dr Tamu Davidson, director, health promotion and protection in the ministry, who gave an address.

Approximately 1,000 persons from the school and neighbouring communities were in attendance. They were also treated to some great information provided by Mattocks, Reid and the rest of the specially invited guests, who were able to provide education on the importance of healthy eating, staying fit, exercise and even educating others on diabetes.

There was also free and healthy breakfast provided to all in attendance, courtesy of Paradise Catering and Decor, and Catering by Lorraine, as well as free testing for diabetes and hypertension.

With a number of sponsors providing sampling, such as Blue Diamond's line of delicious soy milk courtesy of Chas E. Ramson Ltd., seafood varieties from Rainforest Seafoods, healthy popsicle treats from Liqy Liqy and the WATA brands from Wisynco Group Ltd, patrons were able to enjoy these healthy, delicious and affordable products.

At the end, some of the students formed a blue circle with Mattocks and guests to show support for World Diabetes Day. The event was also aired as a live outside broadcast, courtesy of Sun City Radio, and was also filmed and will be shared with millions around the world.

SPECIAL DAY FOR JAMAICA

Mattocks stated, "This was a special day for Jamaica. This event is done in many parts of the world and now we can say we did one that can rival others in any area. For sure, next year we will do it much bigger."

He plans to create a two-day diabetes and wellness convention that will bring some of the biggest doctors and companies around the world to create a younger, fresher and more relevant convention for diabetes. He hopes to take it all around the Caribbean and be a major force in diabetes awareness in the islands.