Sun | May 19, 2019

Mother uses son’s death to power charity

Published:Saturday | April 21, 2018 | 12:00 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston/Gleaner Writer
Stephanie Allen - giving back in late son's memory

Six years ago, it was a very heartbroken Stephanie Allen who said goodbye to her son, Selwin Thomas. It marked the end of a long struggle that began when he was just 10 months old. He developed a brain tumour and had to be operated on nine times.

After 19 years, she said that his body started to reject the shunt (a surgical procedure that ensures that the brain is cushioned and protected from injury inside the skull), and he died on March 4, 2012.

Although Thomas struggled with illness throughout his life, she said her son was a giving person and always wanted to assist others.

It is for that reason she chose to honour his memory with the formation of the Selwin Thomas Kids Charity Limited, which she founded in 2013.




Now on a visit to the community where she grew up - Chapelton - Allen came bearing goodies for the less fortunate and shut-ins.

Allen is thanking friends and relatives in England who assisted in buying food items, clothes, school resources, and medical items such as blood pressure machines to distribute to the hospital.

"My aim is to help as many people as possible while trying to contribute to a better lifestyle for them by doing everything that I possibly can," Allen told The Gleaner.

She shared that it has been a joy visiting many families and giving them what they so badly need: food and clothing.

Allen, who left Jamaica to live in Canada with her mother in the 1970s, eventually settled in England.

She said that her ultimate goal is to take the outreach further afield in the parish, instead of having it contained in Chapelton.

Allen said that her desire to make a difference stems from her belief that if she is able to, then she should help in the process of being an agent of change.

"The fact that I know that I am able to contribute to someone else's happiness by just helping them in the smallest way such as providing them with food makes me feel like I'm making a significant change," she said.

Reward for Allen is seeing the look of gratitude and the smiles of those in whose lives she has been able to make a difference.

"Knowing that my son was such a kind-hearted person who was always giving, it was important that I followed in his footsteps," she said.