Athletics

Digicel kicks off pledge drive for Special Needs

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

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The 2018 staging of the Digicel 5K Night Run for Special Needs was fittingly launched with the declaration from Digicel Jamaica CEO Justin Morin of “accepting the challenge, making a pledge and passing it on”.

As the theme suggests, Morin made a personal pledge of $50,000 to the cause before challenging Digicel ambassadors Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Tifa to make a pledge and encourage others to do the same.

Similar to the 'Ice Bucket challenge', those nominated are expected to 'Accept' the challenge within the coming days and 'Make' a donation, while nominating others to do the same, thereby creating a viral wave of #Digicel5K pledges across social media.

Through this initiative along with the 5K Night Run scheduled for October 6 at 7:00 pm, the telecommunications firm is seeking to raise funds for special needs organisations.

The details were announced at the launch at Digicel's headquarters in downtown Kingston last Friday.

Digicel, partnering with Running Events Jamaica, are hoping to attract well over 13,000 participants for this year's staging of the event as they aim to better the $5 million raised last year. The pledge campaign is expected to add impetus to this charge and Digicel is encouraging everyone to support the cause by pledging or come out and enjoy a fun night of healthy activities.

Besides fund-raising, the event also helps to raise awareness of the issues faced by the special needs community, with the goal of promoting the acceptance and inclusion of persons with special needs, while supporting their drive for independence.

The Community Based Rehabilitation Programme, Early Stimulation Programme, Jamaica Association on Intellectual Disabilities, Jamaica Autism Support Association, Jamaica Down's Syndrome Foundation, Jamaica Society for the Blind and the Promise Learning Centre are this year's beneficiaries.

Proceeds from the event will be used to make necessary infrastructural and developmental upgrades, providing scholarships for needy students, getting the necessary specialised training for teachers and caregivers and addressing other needs specific to each organisation.

Jean Lowrie-Chin, chairperson of the Digicel Foundation Jamaica, also made a personal pledge of $50,000, noting that “the joy is incomparable, when special needs individuals with the right education and therapy become independent and the self-reliant”.

State Minister in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment Sport Alando Terrelonge, representing Olivia Grange, was pleased to endorse the event, stating that Digicel “has epitomized the concept of corporate social responsibility in Jamaica since arriving in 2001.

While congratulating Digicel Foundation for raising awareness of issues in the special needs community, pointing to the need for acceptance, love and the reduction of stigma, Terrelonge also recognised the presence of Paralympian gold medalist Alphanso Cunningham as a beacon of inspiration for athletes with special needs.

Registration for the Digicel 5K Night Run for Special Needs can be done at www.runningeventsja.com.

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