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Jamaican Authors Share Their Personal Journey Of Triumph Despite All Odds – Sunday, February 25 th, 2007, New York

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JAMPACT Hosts Book Signing in Celebration of Black History Month


New York , NY , February 7, 2007 : In celebration of Black History month, Jamaica Impact Inc. “JAMPACT” hosts the ‘Despite All Odds’ Book Signing, Sunday, February 25 th at the quaint Downtown Brooklyn Caribbean restaurant, Sapodilla, 1 – 4 p.m. The two featured authors are original bobsled team member, Devon Harris and long time JAMPACT member Dr. Kathleen Watson.


“JAMPACT continues its ongoing effort to bring quality programming and events to our members and friends,” stated President Carl Heron. “…and in acknowledgment of Black History month, we want to highlight fellow Caribbean people who can speak about their own experiences in overcoming adversities.”


International motivational speaker, Devon Harris is also a three-time Winter Olympian and captain of the Jamaican Bobsled team, ‘Cool Runnings.’ Harris welcomed the opportunity to address fellow Jamaicans on his new book, befittingly titled “Yes I Can.”


Through his semi-autobiography book, Harris specifically targets children between the ages of 7 and 11 in hopes of building their self esteem by sharing his dogged determination and belief in himself and his teammates and encouraging them to dream the impossible. “Yes I Can” references Harris’ personal experiences during his team’s 4 month journey to the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calvary, Canada. Although the team did not win any medals, they won the hearts of many around the world, as depicted in the heart warming 1993 film, Cool Runnings.


“The paths to our goals and dreams are inevitably filled with challenges and obstacles which at times seem overwhelming, even insurmountable,” said Harris. “It is important to always remember that success is ultimately achievable despite the odds.”


Dr. Kathleen Watson makes her authorial debut with colleague and co-author, Don Maclaren on “The Road Back.” Eleven years ago, Dr. Watson, a successful Rehabilitation Physician and at that time the newly appointed Medical Director of the Mona Rehabilitation Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica, was in an almost fatal motorcycle accident. Surviving eight surgeries and spells of depression, Dr. Watson found the process of chronicling her journey to recovery, therapeutic.


“I became my own patient,” Dr. Watson said reflectively. “All those years in practice as a physician, I was in training to take care of myself.”


“The Road Back” is a riveting recount of one unique patient’s journey to recover her health through self determination and self actualization. Today, Dr. Watson is grateful for the tremendous progress she has made; although she had to come to the difficult realization that her career as a practicing physician was over. However, through the pages of her book, she embraces new possibilities.


“Despite all odds, I think it’s possible to overcome circumstances,” Dr. Watson said. “I realize that I survived this for a reason…and with that I press on.”


Both Harris and Watson’s books will be on sale and part of the proceeds will be donated to the library funds for JAMPACT’s Adopt-A-School program.


For further information on JAMPACT, visit their website at http://www.jampact.org or call 212.459.4390.






From the slums of Kingston, Jamaica to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, England; from a barefoot boy’s dream of winning a track race to a young man’s membership on his country’s first Olympic bobsled team – Devon Harris’ inspiring tale of personal triumph over adversity and the uplifting story behind Jamaica’s first Winter Olympic team will captivate your audience.


So engaging was the story of the misfit band of athletes from the tropical island of Jamaica at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games that it served as the basis for the hit Disney movie, “Cool Runnings.” While the movie captured the heart and soul of a team that didn’t know the meaning of the word “impossible,” the personal story of Devon Harris is a testament of one man’s refusal to accept the limitations placed on him by birth or society.


Devon Harris was born on Christmas Day, 1964. The greatest gift he ever received was the belief that a positive attitude and a never say die philosophy would carry him farther than a sense of injustice and a heart filled with anger. Devon also learned at an early age that one can either spill tears of laughter or tears of rage when faced with life’s many obstacles.


When not bringing his captivating message of inspiration and hope to audiences across the globe, Devon serves as an ambassador for Right to Play – an athlete-driven, humanitarian non-profit organization using sport and play to enhance child development and build community capacity for youth in refugee camps and disadvantaged communities throughout the world.


KATHLEEN WATSON, M.D ., was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1945. She is board certified in Rehabilitation Medicine. She has worked all her career in various hospitals in the New Jersey and New York City metropolitan area, where she has served as Director of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation departments. She serves on the following international positions: Chairperson, Medical Committee, International Hockey Federation (FIH), Chairperson, Medical Committee, Pan Am Hockey Federation. Dr. Watson has been listed in Connolly’s The Best Doctors: NY Metro Area. She had been chosen by Sir John Golding to be his replacement as Medical Director of the Mona Rehabilitation Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica. This medical director appointment and her medical career, except for the Chairperson position of the Medical Committee of the FIH, had to be suddenly put on hold while Dr. Watson recuperates from fractures, nine surgeries and a traumatic brain injury incurred after being hit by a motorbike in Jamaica. Dr. Watson looks forward to using her accident experience and medical background to develop books and give talks about such topics as traumatic injuries, caregivers, and the aging process. She lives in Brooklyn, New York City.

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