Tue | Dec 18, 2018

Keep It Alive 5K making positive impact

Published:Sunday | April 29, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Dr Sara Lawrence (left) presents Sylvia Grant with her first place trophy for the Wheelchair race at the New Kingston leg of the Guardian Life 5K Night Run IN 2016.

The Guardian Group Foundation will be staging its annual Keep It Alive 5K Night Run on Saturday, May 26, in Kingston, and Saturday, June 2, in Montego Bay.

This year's run marks the fifth staging of the event in Kingston and the fourth in Montego Bay by the Guardian Group Foundation. The charity race event was started in 2014 to help raise funds for Jamaica's healthcare sector, but what triggered the initiative took place four years prior.

Annette Atkinson, senior manager of corporate affairs and communications at Guardian Life, shared its back story with The Gleaner.

"Our decision to get involved in the improvement of our healthcare system started in 2010 after a plea from a father, one of our very own policyholders, to help save the life of his eight-year-old-son. (This) is the catalyst that set in motion the creation of the Keep It Alive 5K Night Runs," she said.

"At the time, the dad created the 'Raise the Roof' fundraiser to rehabilitate the Intensive Care Unit B at the University Hospital of the West Indies, where his son was being treated. Moved by the cause, Guardian Life Limited, along with our stakeholders, contributed $1.5 million."

Atkinson said it became clear that other hospitals across Jamaica were experiencing similar issues relating to limited resources.

"This inspired our president to identify a long-term strategy that would be sustainable and contribute to the improvement of these institutions by purchasing much-needed medical equipment," she said.

Proceeds from the Kingston race will go to the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) and the Mandeville Regional Hospital, while the Montego Bay race will offer up its proceeds to the Cornwall and St Ann's Bay regional hospitals. In addition to the four main beneficiaries, service clubs and schools can benefit from proceeds from the race by registering teams. In turn, they can receive 75 per cent of their contributions and access funds towards community-based and charity projects.




Leading up to the races, the foundation will be hosting Keep Fit Sessions at two main locations as part of promoting a healthy lifestyle and preparing race participants for the major events. Keep Fit Sessions will be held at the Fairview Car Park, Fairview Office Complex, Units 2 and 3, Montego Bay, on March 30, and in Kingston at the car park of Guardian Life's Clubhouse, 1A Musgrave Avenue on April 18 and May 2, 9, and 16.

Since the inception of the races, the foundation has donated over $57 million to several beneficiaries, with close to 30,000 persons participating.

To register for the event go online at www.KeepItAlive5k.com, or visit any Guardian Life Limited and Guardian General Jamaica Limited branch offices or the benefitting hospitals.