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One Caribbean—Emergency Fundraising Efforts For Teen Burn Victim

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New York, APRIL 10th, 2008- The Leaf of Life Fund, a New York based children’s advocacy organization has assisted over 200 critically ill children throughout the Caribbean since its inception in 1992.

When you think of Trinidad, you think of the excitement created by a kaleidoscopic sea of the most electrifying people moving to the beat of calypso music – Carnival. When you think of Barbados, you think of Rhianna and coral shore beaches of fine white sand stretched along a blue-green sea. When you think of Guyana, you think of the amazing waterfalls lead by the World’s longest Single drop falls, the stunning 700 feet Kaieteur. When you think of Haiti, you think of the vibrant colors and picturesque landscape images that majestically define Haitian Art; which are among the most prized in the World. When you think of Jamaica, you think of the rich aroma of the distinguished Blue Mountain coffee, Bob Marley and the beat, pulse and rhythm of our hearts – Reggae Music. The islands of the Caribbean serve as tropical paradise getaways to many people through out the world but to Jennifer Chalmers, Founder of New York City based, Leaf of Life Fund for Critically Ill Children; this Caribbean portrait depicts a different point of view. When Jennifer thinks of Trinidad she sees a 5 year old girl seeking the need for open heart surgery as the only means of survival. In Guyana, she sees a 10 year old boy whose legs were crushed in a truck accident causing ulcers throughout his bones from the knees down. She sees a 9 year old Bajan girl with severe bone deformity to her face when she thinks of Barbados and in Jamaica she sees a 17 year old girl suffering from 2nd and 3rd degree burns to her face and torso.

Just over a year ago, Jennifer Chalmers, supported by Irwine Clare, Managing Director of Caribbean Immigrant Services, Inc, started the rebirth process of yet another case. Here is the story of teenage burn victim, Sheneil Walcott. Sheneil, a soft spoken, spirited teen, who graduated from Ascot High School, St. Catharine, Jamaica was savagely attacked and doused with acid by an enraged 47 year old woman unknown to her. She was left with second and third degree burns to her face, arms and torso. Through hard work and dedication, Jennifer and her team were able to secure Nassau University Medical Center’s Burn Unit at a charity rate for Sheneil’s reconstructive surgery. As per Dr. Reina, Chief Plastic Surgeon-Burn Unit, Sheneil will need at least 2 additional years of reconstructive surgeries. Some of the surgeries planned are reconstruction of new ear lobes, eye lids, lips and skin graphs to her breast, shoulders and arms. As one of our main sponsors Nassau University Medical Center has donated over 90% of the hospital/medical fees which are estimated to be over 1 million dollars. As a stand-by patient, Sheneil’s call date for her evaluations and surgical procedures was slated for early 2009, however, due to her surgeon’s schedule these procedures have now been slated to begin within the next 3 months. The Leaf of Life Fund is now forced to create a mode of EMERGENCY fund raising efforts to support Sheneil’s medical fees, out patient care, some clinic and medical supplies, all prescriptions and special sterile articles of clothing; in addition to the continued housing accommodations and living expenses.

Sabree Special Events, the official Event Planning, Marketing and PR firm for The Leaf of Life Fund, is currently planning a Fund Raising Reception and Benefit Concert to raise the much needed money for this cause. We appeal today to companies, organizations and individuals to make valuable contributions to The Leaf of Life Fund and get involved by joining us as we restore the essence of Sheneil Walcott’s life.

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Written by Staff Writer