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PanCaribbean targets $50m for Sigma Run

Published:Wednesday | January 18, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Usain Bolt (right), Lady Allen (second right), wife of Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, and Donovan Perkins (left), president and CEO, PanCaribbean Financial Services, react while sitting in the audience at the launch of the PanCaribbean Sigma Corporate Run, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, yesterday. - Gladstone Taylor/Photographer

Ryon Jones, Gleaner Writer

The organisers of the 2012 edition of the PanCaribbean Sigma Corporate Run have, in observance of Jamaica's 50th anniversary of Independence, set themselves an audacious target of $50m, which they aspire to raise in aid of Chain of Hope Jamaica's commitment to the cardiac programme at the Bustamante Hospital for Children.

The event, which is supported by three distinguished patrons - Lady Allen, R. 'Danny 'Williams and the Honourable Usain Bolt - will be held at Emancipation Park on Sunday, February 19, under the theme 'Play Your Part, Save A Heart'.

The ambitious nature of this year's target is highlighted by the fact that the Sigma Run's initial target 14 years ago was $500,000, while last year they had 15,000 participants and raised over $15m for Victoria Jubilee Hospital's neo-natal care unit.

Donovan Perkins, president and CEO of PanCaribbean Financial Services Limited, explained the rationale behind choosing this year's beneficiary.

Vital equipment needed

"PanCaribbean's goal is to help play a role in developing a sustainable paediatric cardiac programme at the Bustamante Hospital for Children," Perkins shared while speaking at the Corporate Run's launch yesterday at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel.

"This project will provide treatment for children through the development and acquisition of vital medical equipment to support the efforts of and train skilled cardiac personnel including cardiologists, anaesthetists, nurses and bio-medical engineers," he added.

The route for the 5.6K or 3.5-mile race, which organisers emphasise will start at exactly 7:30 a.m., is the same as last year. The starting point will be at the PanCaribbean head office on Knutsford Boulevard and going along Waterloo Road then on to West Kings House Road, before turning on to Constant Spring Road.

The course will then take participants on to Suthermere Road and Hope Road, then on to Winchester Road and Ruthven Road. The final leg of the race continues on to Half-Way Tree Road and then Emancipation Park, Oxford Road, for the finish.

Target achievable

In excess of 70 corporate companies have already confirmed their participation in this year's charity event, which caters for runners, walkers and wheelchair users.

Persons who are unable to participate in the race can make donations directly to the cause at any PanCaribbean office, while Digicel customers can send a blank text to 444-2498.

The National Health Fund, which is partnering with Sigma Run for the fifth year, made a direct contribution of $5 million, while its chief executive officer, Hugh Lawson, encouraged everyone to get on board.

"Let us respond with generosity so that more of our children with cardiac problems can obtain the surgery they need," he said. "The target of $50 million is achievable."

Other sponsors include Advertising and Marketing, Caribbean Broilers, Catherine's Peak, Digicel Jamaica, The Gleaner Company Limited, King Alarm, National Baking Company, National Outdoor Advertising, Nestlé Jamaica, Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company Limited, PUMA, Reggae Marathon, RJR Communications Group, Sagicor Life Jamaica and Stewart's Auto Sales.