TORONTO — Over the next five years Sandals Foundation is donating US$600,000 to become a Catalyst Donor supporting the SickKids Foundation’s ‘SickKids VS Limits’ fundraising campaign.
The Sandals Foundation has already donated US$400,000 to the SickKids-Caribbean Initiative, which seeks to build local capacity to advance the study, diagnosis and treatment of paediatric cancer and serious blood disorders across the region.
SickKids Foundation supports The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, one of the world’s leading centres for paediatric care, research and learning.
“Sandals Foundation is all about creating opportunities for the Caribbean region and its people, and so we are very pleased to partner with SickKids to help create better treatment opportunities for children with cancer and blood disorders as well as close the gap in survival rates between children in this region and those in North America,” said Heidi Clarke, Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation.
Launched in March 2009, the Sandals Foundation was established to continue the philanthropic work of Sandals Resorts International that began over three decades ago. The three focus areas of the Foundation – Community, Education and the Environment – underpin the organization’s goal to make a difference in the lives of people across the Caribbean.
Clarke spoke at the recent launch of the Can$1.3 billion SickKids VS Limits fundraising campaign, the largest in Canadian health care history. The campaign will support three key elements: re-imagining the campus, including building a new patient care centre at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto; continuing breakthrough paediatric health research; and establishing partnerships for better, coordinated patient care around the world including Phase II of the SickKids-Caribbean Initiative.
Working with the University of the West Indies and the health sector in six Caribbean countries since 2013, Phase I of the SickKids-Caribbean Initiative has held 221 telemedicine consultations in state-of-the-art rooms such as the Sandals Foundation Telemedicine Room at Victoria Hospital in St Lucia; sponsored 26 nurses to train in paediatric haematology/oncology through UWI’s School of Nursing in Trinidad; screened 37,578 newborns for sickle cell disease; and registered 457 patients in local haematology/oncology databases for monitoring outcomes, says Clarke.
In addition, the Initiative has trained Jamaica’s first two paediatric oncologists, Dr. Michelle Reece-Mills and Dr. Sharon McLean-Salmon, and is currently training a third oncologist, Dr. Chantelle Browne-Farmer, from Barbados who is in the second year of the Sandals Foundation Fellowship. It is expected that Phase II of the SickKids-Caribbean Initiative will build on these programs while moving towards sustainability within the region, she added.
Dr. Victor Blanchette, McCaig-Magee Family Medical Director for the SickKids-Caribbean Initiative, expressed gratitude to the Sandals Foundation for its support of the SickKids-Caribbean Initiative since its inception. “I would like to acknowledge Sandals Foundation for their immense and continued support throughout the SickKids-Caribbean Initiative,” said Blanchette. “Thank you sincerely on behalf of the children with cancer and blood disorders and their families in the six participating SCI countries: The Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.”
SickKids Foundation raised Can$140 million for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017, and is the largest non-governmental funder of children’s health in Canada.