The Oncology Unit at the Bustamante Hospital for Children has received a number of critically identified equipment and resources following a generous donation from the Sandals Foundation in conjunction with the family of the late tourism and Sandals Resorts International (SRI) stalwart, David Roper.
Described by colleagues and close friends as “a great man who impacted lives all over the world through his humanity”, Roper, who passed away earlier this year on April 25, was an irreplaceable force in community outreach and a devoted Sandals Foundation Ambassador. The SRI Executive served as Director of Industry Relations and was instrumental in guiding young people in and outside of the company to reach their full potential.
Now, in honour of his memory, members of his family joined the Sandals Foundation team in presenting the life-saving equipment identified as immediate needs of the Children’s Hospital to support its Oncology Unit.
The supplies, which are valued at just under $600,000 comprise an Examination light, three Infusion Pumps, 1 Port-a-Cath and 10 Huber Needles. All were made possible following the contribution of relatives, colleagues and friends who donated to a specially created fund in his honour.
Dr. Michelle-Ann Richards-Dawson, Senior Medical Officer at the Bustamante Hospital for Children described the development as “an overwhelming moment because it’s not just a donation from a corporate entity, but it’s a donation from a family in memory of a dear loved one who has passed.”
“I’m ecstatic,” Dr. Richards-Dawson continued, “because this is a critical area for managing children with cancer. It’s a very sensitive area and a difficult area so anything our team can be supported with in providing that care is important to us,” said Dr. Richards-Dawson.
And for Dr. Sharon McLean-Salmon, a Consultant Pediatrician and Specialist in the Oncology Unit at the Bustamante Hospital, “The [resources] will go a long way in helping us deliver the chemotherapy or other medications that are needed in a very accurate and precise manner to the children. This is an excellent dent in some of the needs that we have in the Oncology Unit.”
Speaking at a short presentation at the Hospital, younger brother, Brian Roper shared the significance of moment noting, “For all of my life that I can recall, David would get mightily upset whenever he heard of appeals for children who needed to go abroad for treatment or for equipment that was needed here. In the last six months of his life he kept saying, he just wanted to help a child. When he passed, his wife called me to say we needed to find a way to help children with cancer in particular,” said the younger Roper.
“We were very lucky”, a visibly emotional Roper continued, “We called the Sandals Foundation who did not hesitate. We raised some funds in his name and I know this is something he would be pleased about. On behalf of his family, wife and kids it means so much to us that we are able to give something back and I am sure it is going to make a difference. I know he is very pleased,” concluded Roper.
The support of healthcare services is a major area of work for the Sandals Foundation, with the philanthropic organization investing millions into various areas of its development annually. However, in speaking to the latest initiative, Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at the foundation said, “This was a very special project for us because in more ways than one, it hits close to home. In appreciating the giant of a man that was David, and his commitment to outreach, we were honoured, when asked by his family, to create a special donation channel on our website to facilitate persons who were eager to give back in his memory.”
“We are just deeply appreciative of all the love and support which has made it possible to positively impact the lives of so many children and their families who are served by this institution today and for many years to come,” concluded Clarke.
Each donated Infusion pump unit was aptly presented with an inscription, “For the love of our Children – In memory of David Roper.”