Five students with sickle cell get scholarships

Jamaica Observer:

FIVE students living with the sickle cell disease and who are currently attending tertiary institutions have received financial assistance totalling $450,000 from the FLOW Foundation to assist with the cost of their tuition for the 2017/18 academic year.

FLOW said the scholarship programme, now in its 11th consecutive year, saw five students benefiting this time around.

Recipients are: Avia Aiken, who is undertaking a BSc in marketing at The University of the West Indies (UWI); Ashleigh Gordon, who is pursuing a degree in public policy and management at UWI; Zuleika O’Leary, who is pursuing her Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) at UWI, St Augustine; Sherona Smith, who is in the business administration programme at the University of Technology; and Sanjay Williams, who is in the final year of the BSC computer science programme at UWI.

In presenting the awards, Errol K Miller, executive chairman of the foundation, said: “I am continually impressed by these individuals. Their resilience is nothing short of amazing. Despite the many, oftentimes chronic, medical challenges they face from having to deal with the sickle cell disease, they are still striving to reach their full potential.”

June Harris, nurse-in-charge, Sickle Cell Unit of Jamaica, expressed deep appreciation to the FLOW Foundation. “I commend FLOW for their continued support of these individuals. These students really face incredible challenges and the foundation’s support has been invaluable.” She encouraged the students to make the most of the opportunities presented to them so that they could be role models for other, younger students who, like them, are living with the disease.

Ashleigh Gordon, in expressing appreciation on behalf of the recipients, said, “We are really grateful for this support and thank the FLOW Foundation so much.” She said: “I promise you that we will use this opportunity well and you can look for us in high places in the future.”

The bursary scheme is a continuation of FLOW’s long association with the Jamaica Sickle Cell community as the company has provided assistance to the Sickle Cell Unit in several areas over many years. This includes providing funding of $7 million which was used to build the Sickle Cell Education Centre at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus in 1995.