Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Samuels Foundation to the rescue

Published:Wednesday | April 19, 2017 | 4:00 AMShayne Fairman

The Marlon Samuels Foundation marked year three of its contributions to the local blind and visually impaired community, by handing over $1.85 million during a special ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston yesterday.

Samuels, who presented the donations, has been aiding the blind and visually impaired community in Jamaica, through his foundation, following an eye injury he suffered while playing for Melbourne Renegades in the Australia Big Bash Twenty20 tournament in 2013.

Samuels was struck by a delivery from Lasith Malinga, which he recalled left him without sight temporarily.

"Well, the urge for this is

definitely two weeks of closing my left eye, and not being able to see anything out of my right eye. It was total darkness, so I can imagine what they are going through for their entire life being like that," outlined Samuels.

"So I will continue to do what I have done today as I know what it feels like to be without sight as I experienced that for two traumatic weeks. If I can raise awareness for this cause, I would have achieved something for the community," Samuels added.

The Samuels Foundation handed over a cheque valued at $1.5 million to the Jamaica Society for the Blind to assist with its operations. The Jamaica and West Indies cricketer also made a presentation of $350,000 to visually impaired student, Garfield Mitchell, who attends Church Teacher's College. Mitchell was on the brink of dropping out of school because of his inability to pay his tuition fees.

GRATEFUL FORCONTRIBUTION

Daemion McLean, chairman of the Jamaican Society for the Blind hailed the contributions.

"It's never easy for a non-government organisation treating with in excess of 46,000 blind individuals, and 80,000 visually impaired individuals, so when a contribution of this magnitude is made it helps us significantly in terms of rehabilitative services," he outlined

Meanwhile, former prime minister Portia Simpson Miller, whom Samuels says he met at age 15, and who he considers a mother, and mentor, was present yesterday.

"You find people that are mentors, this mentor is very special to me," Samuels said of Simpson Miller, while encouraging other sportsmen to be mentors and give back.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, lauded Samuel's for "his support and advocacy for the blind and visually impaired."

Others present included, West Indies Cricket Board president Dave Cameron and West Indies Players Association president Wavell Hinds.

The Marlon Samuels Foundation was launched in 2013, and is looking to continue its support of Jamaica's blind community and fulfilling their mandate of promoting the welfare, education and employment of persons who are blind or visually impaired in Jamaica.