JIS News

Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, has appealed to Jamaicans to begin thinking about donating their organs, as a means of saving lives.
Miss Grange made the appeal yesterday (November 23), at the funeral service for Cassandra Smith, a 10 year-old girl from Homestead, Spanish Town, St. Catherine, who came to national prominence recently, when a public appeal for financial assistance was sought, to fund a surgery to replace a defective liver.
The surgery was scheduled to be done at a hospital in Boston, United States of America, at a cost of some J$18 million. Cassandra died a week before word came from the hospital that they would do the surgery, free of cost.
Explaining the difficulty which little Cassandra faced, in finding a liver for the transplant to save her life, Minister Grange said that perhaps, it was time that Jamaicans begin thinking about donating organs, as a means of giving another human being a chance to live. “I’m going to see how we can start some effort here in Jamaica,” she said.
“I myself am thinking about it as an individual. It’s something I’ll have to discuss with the Minister of Health and the Prime Minister, to see what are the various considerations; how do you proceed in getting such an initiative going,” the Minister added.
Miss Grange told JIS News, that the idea of donating organs was not new, but it really came home to her after witnessing the trauma that Cassandra went through. She said that if someone had agreed to donate a healthy organ, perhaps Cassandra would have been given a chance at life.
The Minister said she would begin working with Dr. Peter Charles of the University of the West Indies, a campaigner for organ donorship. “Dr. Charles and myself are going to join our efforts in trying to push the idea of organ donation, because it is critical,” she stressed.
Miss Grange pointed out that Urologist, Dr. Lawson Douglas, had pioneered kidney transplant in Jamaica, in the 1970s and early 1980s, adding that it might now be a perfect opportunity to build on that bridge created by Dr. Douglas. “It certainly is an enlightened approach to life in the field of medicine,” she said.
Mother of Cassandra, Sophia Dunkley, said she fully supported the Minister’s suggestion. “If Cassandra had gotten a liver, she would be alive right now, so it’s a good thing,” she said.
Miss Dunkley told JIS News, that she would tell friends and neighbours to begin thinking about donating organs, as a means of saving lives.