Sat | Sep 19, 2020

Digicel charity run to raise funds across globe for special-needs community

Published:Wednesday | September 16, 2020 | 5:25 PM
Contributed photo

Jason Cross, Gleaner Writer

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to spiral, the annual Digicel 5K fundraiser for Jamaica's special-needs community will be transformed into a virtual event. 

Organisers are excited that persons on any continent can participate and at their own convenience. 

The run will take place throughout the month of October.

Those who wish to participate must register at runningeventsja.com and pay the fee of $1,500 for locals and US$20 for foreign nationals.

Participants will receive medals three to six weeks after the event by mail, and will receive a certificate signed by sprint legends Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, as well as rising star Briana Williams. 

Master of ceremonies at the launch, Khadine 'Miss Kitty' Hylton, said during the launch of the virtual run on Wednesday that, "not even COVID-19 could stop Digicel Foundation from getting participants to walk, run or wheel for special needs this year".

According to Jean Lowrie-Chin, chairperson for the Digicel Foundation, this year's ninth staging of the 5K will support five special-needs organisations.

Since 2012, $61.5 million has been raised by the foundation to support special-needs groups across the island.

The Jamaica Visually Impaired Cricket Association is one organisation that can attest to the help received from the proceeds of last year's 5K.

"Blind cricket is a rehabilitative tool. We are giving the blind and visually impaired an opportunity to learn a sport and not only represent their country, but the region on an international stage," said coach of Jamaica's visually impaired team, Glendon Coke. 

"The 2019 Digicel 5K beneficiary grant gave us the boost we needed to get 20 players engaged [in the sport] in the county of Middlesex."

Coke shared that COVID-19 has impacted training, and has called for additional assistance to equip some team members with tablets, so that they can have online training.

"COVID really poses a challenge. We have continued our trainings online and we are looking into solutions for our players who are housed at the Salvation Army School for the Blind who don't have Internet access," he said.

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