Preparations for this year's Digicel Foundation 5K Night Walk/Run are now in high gear with a sizeable contingent from Corporate Jamaica throwing strong support behind the fundraising event, scheduled for tomorrow in downtown Kingston.
The special-needs sector is set to benefit from the road race, with the event which falls under an aptly titled Digicel Foundation theme 'Shine your light on Special Needs'.
Now in its second year, it seems the light is shining even more brightly, with a 30 per cent increase in registered participants.
The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) is among the companies involved in this year's 5K. In addition to registering a team of 55 participants, the light and power company has also carried out work such as chopping trees and replacing light bulbs along the route in preparation for the event.
Kelly Tomblin, chief executive officer at JPS, was full of anticipation.
"JPS is excited to participate in any event that provides support to persons with special needs," said Tomblin. "I participated in this event last year and really enjoyed it. It is a great community event for a worthy cause."
A strong showing of other corporate entities from downtown Kingston is also evident with GraceKennedy Limited fielding 60 representatives. Others include Bank of Jamaica, CGM Gallagher Insurance Brokers, Prime Asset Management, WIHCON Limited, Institute of Jamaica, the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation, Jamaica Observer, and Urban Development Corporation. Additionally, just under 250 clubs have registered for the 5K Walk/Run.
"We at the foundation are just really grateful for the level of support we are receiving this year from Corporate Jamaica," said a pleased Samantha Chantrelle, executive director of the Digicel Foundation.
"We really do appreciate the tremendous effort and willingness by the various companies, which will go a far way to assist members of our special-needs community."
The race is set to get under way on Ocean Boulevard, at Digicel's downtown Kingston headquarters, beginning at 7 p.m. on October 26. The recently signed Digicel Ambassador and Paralympian, Alphanso Cunningham, is among those set to participate in the event, as he will be the honorary starter for the wheelchair category. Olympian Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will set off the runners and dancehall artiste Tifa will start the walkers.
Presentation of prizes will follow immediately after the race, which will be chip-timed using the Mylaps Bib Tag system.
The 11 special-needs schools and organisations set to benefit directly from the event are: NAZ Children's Centre, Genesis Academy, the STEP Centre, Mustard Seed Communities, Liberty Academy, the Jamaica Association of Intellectual Disabilities, Early Stimulation Plus, Jamaica Autism Support Association, Jamaica Association for the Blind, Jamaica Association for the Deaf, and the Jamaica Downs Syndrome Foundation.