Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
This year's second staging of the Digicel Foundation 5K Night Run/Walk, in aid of the special-needs community, promises to be even more extraordinary as the foundation aims to surpass the $5m raised last year to assist an additional three institutions.
The event was launched yesterday during a press conference at Digicel's headquarters at Ocean Boulevard, downtown Kingston, which will be the starting point for the race on Saturday, October 26, at 7 p.m. This year's staging will be held under the theme 'Shine your light for special needs'.
The new organisations set to benefit from this year's staging are Early Stimulation Plus, Genesis Academy, and Jamaica Down's Syndrome Foundation.
There was a total of eight beneficiaries last year, but that number has been increased to 11. The others are: Jamaica Association for the Deaf; The Jamaican Association on Intellectual Disabilities; Jamaica Society for the Blind; Jamaica Autism Support Association; the School for Therapy, Education and Parenting of Children with Multiple Disabilities; Mustard Seed Communities; the NAZ Children's Centre, and Liberty Academy.
"We are increasing the number of beneficiaries to spread what we are able to give, but also to shine our light on the different organisations and build awareness in our communities, so that persons know there is somewhere they can go for support," director of Digicel Foundation, Samantha Chantrelle, shared.
Judine Hunter, programme manager, special needs, believes the 5K run/walk plays a vital role in helping Digicel to meet its goal of assisting some of the most vulnerable in the society.
"It (the race) is very impactful for all our beneficiary schools because the funds that we raise from the event go to the associations and schools and they provide scholarships for various persons who are part of their schools," she said.
two new features
There will be at least two new features to this year's staging, as Digicel aims to ensure that the more than 5,000 expected participants and members of the downtown community enjoy a wholesome experience.
"This year, we are going to have a big event on the waterfront to embrace all our participants who want to stay for the after party and for members of the community to come and enjoy performances from some of Jamaica's finest artistes," disclosed race director, Alfred Francis. "This year, we are once again using the MyLaps BibTag system (timing method which sees a single tag attached to the bib number). We are going to do a map highlighting all the significant landmarks along the route as well."
President of the Senate, Floyd Morris, who was the guest speaker, implored Jamaicans to come out and support the venture, while guaranteeing his participation.
"I notice that the event will be organised in the night, as was last year," highlighted Morris, who is blind. "Ideal conditions for a blind man, because we are king of the dark. So, I say to those who will be participating, catch me if you can."
Registration is currently open to individuals and teams and can be done at www.runningeventsja.com with a donation of $1,000 requested per person.