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Oct 12, 2011

First Caribbean’s Unsung Heroes revealed

FirstCaribbean Bank today revealed the names of two outstanding Belizeans as Unsung Heroes. There were twenty-five entries but Dr Beatrice Thompson and Dara Robinson emerged as this year’s champions for giving their time and effort to the community. Aside from a full time KHMH job, Thompson provides palliative care while Robinson is well known for his efforts at fundraising for his feeding program. They get a donation for twelve thousand dollars each and have been entered at the regional competition. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

Every year, FirstCaribbean International Bank recognizes ordinary men and women, who selflessly devote their time to helping others. This year’s local finalists from Belize offer completely different community services, but they both make a world of difference. Doctor Beatrice Thompson started Belize Hospice Palliative Care Foundation, which has provided care for over three hundred terminally ill persons countrywide.

Rosanna Villanueva

Rosanna Villanueva, Local Coordinator, Unsung Heroes Programme

“Initially Doctora Beatrice volunteered by helping other organizations with fundraising and prevention and education efforts. But she quickly realized that this is not where she could make the most of her training. She engaged anyone who would listen and she had the support of her family and other women from her church who were willing and able to assist. She campaigned with the government to make the pain medications more readily available, trained her family members on how to administer care and the commenced with their visits to terminally ill patients. Doctora Beatrice further went on to lobby for free medication to be given to patients who simply cannot afford it.  As there is currently no physical location in Belize that caters to the terminally ill, Doctora Beatrice is hoping to raise funds for the construction of a permanent hospice center where her patients can be housed if necessary. It will also provide some relief for families of patients by allowing them to take a break from the rigors of providing care.”

Beatrice Thompson

Doctora Thompson says that the calling to go into palliative care came from an experience she had working in Mexico.

Dr. Beatrice Thompson, Unsung Hero 2011

“Before I got involved in this program I decided to become an anesthesiologist for the mere fact that I wouldn’t have to hear the patient complain of pain. And when God turned it around on me that I had to be out of the operating theatre for six months dealing only with cancer patients, it was then that I was like struck by lightning and said mercy, this is hard and what could possibly be happening in Belize.”

The other Unsung Hero for 2011 is well known for the food drives and Bob Marley tributes he holds to keep his feeding program running. Joel “Dara” Robinson caters to forty students from two primary schools in his neighborhood and today his hard work paid off.

Rosanna Villanueva

“Before starting the feeding program Dara used to assist a few children by either buying lunch for them or paying for them to eat at the school. Eventually, the demand outpaced his resources so he decided to cook the food and deliver it to the students at school. Dara recruited his ever willing wife, Melody and her mom and took off with their plan. Other challenges presented, however, as they had no means of transport and had to depend on the good will of neighbors to deliver the food or dip into resources to pay taxi fair. Eventually they decided to have the children go to their home for lunch.  The couple has plans to start serving breakfast as they are acutely aware that many children that don’t have access to food for lunch are also going to school without breakfast. They need a larger stove that can accommodate the big pots that are used to cook the food and of course a larger tent to accommodate even more children.”

The funds will go a long way for Robinson, who says there have been many days when he and his wife struggled to put together the midday meal.

Joel “Dara” Robinson

Joel “Dara” Robinson, Unsung Hero 2011

“Some days me and my gial have seven dollars and i tell ah hear what, we wah cook todeh no matter what. And we lef pan dah cycle, den yoh hear Miss Catherine win boledo and dah so something come een. [laughter] But dah wah struggle and many people ask me why I do dis but den, like I seh I can’t talk bout di oil drilling, I can’t talk bout gang bang, I can’t talk—but I could talk bout hunger because I live dah life. My gial and me got nuff experience weh we si happen.”

Thompson and Robinson each received twelve thousand dollars to support and boost their initiatives. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

The local unsung heroes will be entered in the regional competition among seventeen countries where FirstCaribbean operates.

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3 Responses for “First Caribbean’s Unsung Heroes revealed”

  1. BT says:

    both highly deserving individuals. congrats, and thanks to both!

  2. PG Gial says:

    Congratulations to Dr. Thompson and Mr. Robinson!! It’s wonderful to know that these Belizeans are doing positive things for their communities and by extension the country. Hopefully their selfless acts will encourage more Belizeans to be their brothers’ keepers! Here’s wishing both of them success in the regional competition!

  3. Heavenlyblaq says:

    Kudos to Dr. T. You truly deserve the recognition and then some. People take it for granted about the sacrifices you make to help those who, simply by economic design, cannot help themselves especially during their illness. You are quite an inspiration to all! Thank you for all the endless sacrifices you have made. I continue to wish you many success with your program.

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