Patients in the Paediatric Ward of the QEH had at least two reasons to smile over the Christmas holiday.
First, they were treated to an unexpected gift of toys from New York. Additionally, toys were also donated to their siblings.
Furthermore, three teen patients, with severe forms of cancer, two boys and a girl, had their special wishes met.
All of this came out of quick and solid response by Barbadian associations and individuals in New York in response to a call from Consul General Mackie Holder to bring some cheer to children in Barbados who were likely to be left out at Christmas.
The initial toy drive was for the Child Care Board, but as a result of ongoing support to the Paediatric Ward by Treva Holder, wife of Barbados Consul General at New York, with the Care Buddy Project, after discussion with the team in Barbados, a decision was taken to treat the wards in the Paediatric Unit at the hospital.
The two-year old Care Buddy Project has been providing stuffed toys, which bring comfort and help with pain management, to children in the Paediatric Ward.
Seventeen kids in care at Christmas and 17 siblings received toys, while the special requests of two tablets for two boys and perfume and personal care items from a brand name store were met by the Harrison College/Queen College Alumni Association, USA (HCQC), and the Barbados American Cancer Association USA Inc. (BACA).
Holder praised the response to the toy drive, which itself came out of a regular meeting with associations, saying that it again demonstrated the commitment to Barbados, particularly in an extremely difficult year.
He said that in a year where no association was able to fundraise, and after contributions including to the Adopt a Family charity and the tablet drive, the unhesitating commitment to the toy drive was another example of how Barbadians overseas rally to assist their homeland.
That persons actually happily went out and personally shopped for the toys in the escalating coronavirus situation in New York was amazing, he added.
More than 300 toys were donated in less than a week. Contributing organisations and individuals included Foundation School Alumni Association, Cambridge Cricket Club Inc., Daryll Jordan Secondary School NY, Margaret Deane, Shirley Holder, Linda Watson-Lorde, Terrence Cumberbatch, the Barbados Nurses Association of America, (BNAA), and (BACA) and HCQC, apart from their special wishes support to the QEH.
At the same time, associations and individuals donated almost 200 care buddies to the Paediatric Ward.
Recent donors included Velta Simmonds, Maureen Prescod, Helen Walker, Foundation, O’Neal Parris, Andrea Hay-Watson, Lucina Clarke (My Time Inc.), Margo Eugene, (Friends of Connecticut), Heather Marsh, Pat Browne, BNAA and the Barbados Ex-Police Association.
In total, more than 600 care buddies have been donated by 70 persons and organisations, mainly from New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut but also places like Bermuda and even Barbados.
Both toys and care buddies were presented by Earl Phillips, President of the St. George Secondary School Alumni International, currently holidaying in Barbados. (PR)