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GraceKennedy outlines defibrillator plan

Published:Friday | March 15, 2019 | 12:45 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Don Wehby, Group CEO of GraceKennedy Limited.
Don Wehby, Group CEO of GraceKennedy Limited.

Group CEO of GraceKennedy Don Wehby has moved to clarify that the five defibrillators, which his company intends to purchase, will in fact not be sourced in time for this month’s ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships.

Champs 2019, Jamaica’s premier track and field event, will be held at the National Stadium from March 26-30.

Wehby, while lauding their efforts, noted that his company is joining force with US-based organisation Team Jamaica Bickle, which has been leading the charge to distribute defibrillators to schools across the island.

Team Jamaica Bickle, which has facilitated teams travelling to compete at the Penn Relays since 1994, will be making their yearly distribution in June and Wehby said that the target is to provide the additional devices for that batch.

“We laud the work that Irwine Clare and Team Jamaica Bickle have been doing to provide this piece of life-saving equipment to schools,” said Wehby. “We want to play our part in supporting that cause and have pledged to purchase a minimum of five units to be distributed to schools that most need it.

“Irwine and his team will be doing their annual distribution starting in June of this year, so we are working with him to have the five additional units in that batch,” Wehby outlined while underlining their importance and with his peers to support the efforts.

“I know they will play a vital role in saving lives and serving the school community. I am also calling on other private sector entities to support this very critical cause,” he said.

A defibrillator is a device that gives a high-energy electric shock to the heart of someone who is in cardiac arrest. It is an essential tool for saving the life of an individual who is suffering heart failure.

The device was a key reason behind the survival of Jamaican distance star Kemoy Campbell, who was revived after collapsing, while competing at the Millrose Games in New York in early February.

According to The America Heart Association, the average cost of a defibrillator is US$2,500 (J$315,000).

GraceKennedy will be pumping $120 million into this year’s ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships.