Sun | Sep 24, 2017

SAJ staff answer the call

Published:Tuesday | November 17, 2015 | 11:00 AM
Members of Shipping Association of Jamaica staff share a moment with Naja Lewis, her mother and sister (centre) after handing over a cheque to them for monies donated by employees to pay for Naja’s corrective foot surgery. The sum raised was matched by the Association.

SAJ staff answer the call

Sparked by an idea from Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ), port worker, Damion Cummings, the staff and administration of the SAJ have donated money to cover the costs of corrective surgery for little Naja Lewis, an eight-year-old girl who continues to defy the academic odds although born with a severe disability.

Naja Lewis has courageously faced several surgeries since she was born with bilateral club feet, a congenital disorder which causes the feet to twist upwards so that the sole cannot be placed flat on the ground. Naja has been undergoing surgeries since a month after her diagnosis at birth to straighten her curved feet and correct a dislocated hip, and has done so with a willpower that many people five times her age do not have.

Despite her pain and suffering over the course of her short life, she is at the top of her grade four class at the Holy Family Primary School, downtown Kingston. Her teachers have skipped her a grade because she is so brilliant. However, she requires more surgical procedures that her family cannot afford.

Cummings, who saw the story in The Star newspaper, went to the HR department at SAJ with an appeal for staff to pitch in and raise the money needed. This they did and raised more than the required $50,000. The SAJ decided to match the monies raised, making the final amount more than double the cost of the surgery.

The SAJ family has always opened their hearts and shared what they could for people in need. This has included the staff giving of their money and their time in preparing and distributing food for needy homeless persons in downtown Kingston and donating to a school feeding programme at the association's adopted school, the Marcus Garvey Basic, among other ventures.