On Saturday June 22, 2014, Spartan Medical University hosted its first fund-raising venture to kick-start the Omotayo Morrison Foundation.
The foundation is geared towards raising funds for the construction of a Neurosurgical Ward at the new St. Jude’s Hospital. The ward is seen as a major necessity on island, after numerous persons have succumbed to traumatic injuries during accidents including the foundation’s namesake Omotayo Morrison, a Spartan student.
The event was held on the grounds of the medical institution and was reasonably patronized by the general public.
Pivotal to the initiative, mother of the deceased, Modupe Olaogun came from Canada for the occasion.
Although there were no parliamentarians present, including representative for the area Dr. Kenny Anthony, his permanent secretary Jadia Jn.Pierre-Emmanuel made an appearance. Also stopping by to lend their support to the cause were local acts Shayne Ross, Kakal and Soca Bandit.
We spoke to Associate Professor at Spartan, Director of External Affairs and Chairperson of the Omotayo Morrison Neuro-surgical Foundation, Dr. Ben Alemina.
STAR: What was the purpose of the event?
BA: The event was to launch the fundraising campaign for the foundation and we want to increase the awareness of the foundation and what we are trying to achieve.
The two main goals for the event were to get more people to know about the foundation and secondly, to get people to understand what the foundation is all about. So we had a multi-national buffet dinner called ‘Taste of Spartan’, where we offered dishes from across the Caribbean as well as the US, Africa, Italy, Russia, India and Pakistan.
We also had an entertainment segment that featured the first ever Miss Spartan Pageant, which we are hoping to host annually; and we had musical performances from a line up of local acts and Spartan students.
STAR: Do you think that the initiative was well supported by the general public?
BA: I was looking forward to seeing much more people but we still got a fair number
and we appreciate it.
But as I said, this is the beginning and it takes time for people to actually get onboard and to be supportive; so the beginning is usually the most difficult time. We hope that
with the help of the media we will be able to achieve our objective.
STAR: What other initiatives have been planned for the foundation?
BA: We are looking at hosting a lot of live events; we want to have some auctions, we are going to get some products and we hope some of the companies can donate some products. But we want people to be engaged in our drive. We welcome anyone who has any fund-raising ideas to come aboard; we are willing to listen and accept them.
Right now we want to get our ads running in the media to encourage persons to begin donations. So we are going to put the bank account information out there so the donations can go towards the foundation.
We are going to be getting funds from overseas; in Canada [Omotayo’s] mom is raising funds, in the US we have people who want to donate too, so we just have to start and we have to be motivated to be part of it and the support will grow.
Most importantly, I want the public to be aware of the money that is being raised, so every month we want to put out the total amount of money that has been raised by the foundation. We want to give them a proper understanding, so we will display the amount raised after each month and the cumulative total. I think that may be a motivating factor for the public to assist.
The estimated amount for the completion of the Neurosurgical ward is EC 10 million dollars.
All donations can be made directly to the Bank of Nova Scotia.
Account Name: Omotayo Morrison Neurosurgical Foundation
Account Number: 62676
Routing Number: 021000021
Swift Code: nosclclc
Look out for an interview with the mother of Omotayo Morrison in this weekend’s STAR.