On February 10, 2016, Falmouth News ran an exclusive story about the plight of a little girl and her mom who were from Wakefield here in Trelawny. They were struggling to fund a heat surgery for the 15-year old. The mother was unemployed and the extended family had exhausted their fund raising efforts. You may read the original story here.
Falmouth News tried to do its part to help. Our initial attempts at getting donations through social media was a struggle. Jamaica has had such a bad reputation for scams, that many were suspicious that this was just another way to scam them of their money. We have also been told that the GoFundMe account that was set up to collect the funds was initially avoided by some because of this suspicion.
The campaign persisted, thanks to some persons who did not believe in giving up. Shinell’s aunt, Villy Grant, has to be lauded for her perseverance and tenacity. She has kept posting and networking on behalf of Shinell. In addition, thanks to the story being shared 522 times oftentimes by strangers whose hearts were touched, the story never went away and persons began to realize that it was legitimate.
The Shinell Stewart story also touched another Falmouth born resident of the USA, Don Hall. Don is a Pastor and an educator, and was led to take up the fight.
The former employee of the Falmouth Tax Office, through his connections in the Baptist Church, left the US and came to Jamaica on Tuesday March 29, to visit Shinell and her mom. It was during this visit that he learned that Shinell is also a Baptist (she attends the Wakefield Baptist Church). He took with him checks and cash amounting to $4638.47: Cashier’s checks. For 2238.47, 1700.00, 200.00 and cash for 500.00.
As of writing, the GoFundMe account is at $5565 so combining both amounts, they are actually at little over their target of $11,000.
An elated Vivienne Whittaker, the mother of Shinell accepted the gift from Pastor Don Hall. Shinell, not one to show emotion, gave rare smiles.
The day after receiving the gift presented by Don Hall, Vivienne made the journey to Kingston and got Shinell registered. They are now awaiting the Doctor to give them a date for the surgery. They are thankful for the contributions and in faith, they believe any added expenses will be realized.
After heart surgery, Shinell still has hip surgery. Read the story here. It is hoped that enough will still be raised to cover both surgeries.
The family is thankful to all the persons who made this possible. Falmouth News gives thanks to the Almighty, knowing it was he who made this possible. It looked like a mission impossible at the start, but now, only two months later, we are almost at the point of asking for prayers to take her through the surgery.