16-year-old donates 60 cases of water to Mandeville Hospital
Pressed by the heart-rending stories of the effects of COVID-19 and the limited resources locally to fight the deadly virus, 16-year-old Gabrielle Cleary said she had to play her part, by donating to at least one cause at the Mandeville Regional Hospital.
The aspiring forensic scientist, who recently completed her pre-college course in molecular biology at Brown University and is an 11th-grader at the American School of Qatar, added that her respiratory illnesses as a child make the stories of limited oxygen that much more real and prompted her into action.
“I had very bad asthma in the past when I was younger and I have had severe incidents. I can just imagine how difficult it is for persons who need oxygen and can’t have it. Also, as a student of molecular biology and understanding the suppressive conditions of the lung and how hurtful and harmful this is, I wanted to help in whatever way I could.”
She added, “I saw how much the hospital was giving up in terms of beds and the difficult decisions they often have to make with who gets oxygen, and I felt if I could get them water, it would be helpful.”
Despite being 7,000 miles away, Cleary was recently able to fund the purchase of 60 cases of water from her allowance and have her mother and relatives in Mandeville distribute 30 cases, with plans to donate the remaining 30 once storage at the hospital becomes available.
The medical officer of health for the parish, Dr Nadine Williams, who collected on behalf of the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer Alwyn Miller, said the donation was timely and well appreciated.
“The patients who are admitted with respiratory illnesses are not able to receive visitors because they are in isolation, so the donation is of great help because they were able to have a bottle or two of water by their bedside.”
“It is always appreciated when persons, even at such a young age, see the needs and try their very best to assist,” Williams added.
Though not yet able to make the kinds of donations she wishes to make, Cleary is encouraging persons who are in a position to make a change, to do so as soon as it is possible.
“I think it is really important to give back, especially if you have the ability to do it. If you can help other people you should, especially given the times right now.”
Cleary said her hope is to make substantial contributions to the health sector locally as she progresses in her studies and becomes successful in her chosen field.
“I do want to help with donations to better the public hospital and the services they offer. I haven’t quite thought it out but I want to help with how fast people can get treated, especially if they are in time-restrictive situations. I want to devise a plan that works for that,” she said.
Having volunteered in the past with a number of organisations, the youngster said this is the official start of her personal philanthropic efforts.
She said her wish is that her fellow Jamaicans will continue to play their part in making a difference in the lives of others and taking care of their island home.
“I hope people who are not yet vaccinated will get vaccinated soon, and that they are making sure they are cautious of the virus and its effects.”