Shaggy was introduced to the Bustamante Hospital for Children whilst visiting a friend’s son who had been admitted there. He was so moved by what he witnessed, that he vowed to do whatever he could to make things better there for our nation’s children. This visit opened his eyes to the obstacles children faced with receiving medical care in Jamaica and the region, it being the only full service children’s hospital in the English speaking Caribbean, something had to be done in order to improve the conditions there.
He soon realised his humble donations paled in comparison to the hospital’s true needs list of over US$2,000,000 worth of equipment. On an international scale, that may seem like a humble figure, easily reached in other parts of the world, but the truth is that for a hospital in Jamaica, dependent on public funding, it is a daunting challenge.
In 2009 Shaggy’s involvement with the hospital dramatically changed. Whilst on a routine visit there, he was approached by a father who insisted that he visit his daughter who was currently on a ventilator in the ICU. The father’s motivation, Shaggy later realized, was due to the fact that his daughter was being kept alive by one of two ventilators donated by Shaggy. As he stood with this distraught father watching his helpless daughter, Apple, her father recounted to Shaggy that had it not been for the ventilator donated, his nine year old daughter who lay with a bullet lodged in her head would not have had a chance at survival. Shaggy was moved and decided then and there that somehow his involvement had to make a greater impact.
On January 3, 2009, Shaggy formally introduced a sustainable event that garnered funds to donate to the Bustamante Hospital for Children. This event was the first of his foundation, “The Shaggy Make a Difference Foundation” established following the visit with Apple’s father. With just eight weeks of planning, the first ever “Shaggy and Friends Benefit Concert” was held on the prestigious lawns of Jamaica House on January 3rd, 2009. It was very well supported, successfully raising US$300,000 for the hospital. It included performances by Shaggy, Macy Gray, Sean Paul etc..and a slew of popular Jamaican and Caribbean artistes. Patrons were treated to an all inclusive “exclusive” event, going down as a memorable concert here in Jamaica and the Caribbean community and garnering awards as the best charity event of the year. Against all odds Shaggy managed to create an awareness about the plight of the hospital, and mobilized Jamaicans here and in the diaspora to get involved and support the cause. Never before had this been done, where a concert pledged and DELIVERED on its promise of donating 100% of the proceeds to its cause!
MAKE A DIFFERENCE
The Shaggy Make A Difference Foundation and Shaggy & Friends’ involvement has not only assisted in improving the physical needs of the Hospital, but has also gone a long way towards raising the morale amongst the staff. Our efforts give hope to parents who rely on the hospital and its staff to comfort and cure their children. We appreciate your participation and support in partnering with us on this very critical venture as we continue to Make A Difference and Dare to Care for our children.