By Sanonna Newburn
When JAVION BLAKE, a young Jamaican-American from Denver, Colorado, returned to Jamaica on a business trip in the summer of 2021, his only goal was to develop a better supply chain operation for his Colorado-based company. However, after arriving home, a local doctor told Javion about the devastating conditions at the medical facilities that he’d become accustomed to working in. Javion was shocked by the level of hopelessness in his community and in the health systems, in particular. He now had a new goal: to find a way to positively impact the regional healthcare system in Jamaica.
After returning to the U.S., Javion realized he had a connection to Project C.U.R.E. through his volunteer position as President of the Young Professional Board at WorldDenver. Realizing that his connection could be the key to helping Jamaica’s healthcare system, he contacted Project C.U.R.E. to learn more about sending a C.U.R.E. Cargo container of medical supplies to Jamaica.
Project C.U.R.E.’s Cargo program delivers 40-foot, cargo containers carrying $350,000 worth of donated medical supplies and equipment to under-resourced hospitals, clinics, and community health centers in developing countries. The cost to underwrite the delivery of a semitruck sized C.U.R.E. Cargo container is roughly $25,000. While initially daunted by the cost required to get supplies to his home country, Javion felt convicted to improve the medical field conditions in Jamaica, so he began his fundraising efforts shortly after his meetings with Project C.U.R.E.
Javion’s zeal for the cause didn’t stop there. Tragically, in September of 2021, he received a call from his mother and learned that his cousin, Donnette Grey-Morris, had passed away due to COVID-19 related complications. Donnette was a nurse at Cornwall Regional Hospital and contracted COVID-19 due to inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE). Hearing that his cousin had lost her life from COVID- 19 further cemented Javion’s conviction to bring health and hope to Jamaica.
Javion recently completed his fundraising efforts to send a C.U.R.E. Cargo container full of medical supplies to Jamaica. The supplies will be disbursed to the Black River Hospital and Santa Cruz Health Centre. These facilities meet the healthcare needs of the citizens of St. Elizabeth and those from the neighboring parishes of the St. James, Manchester, and Westmoreland, with an estimated population of over 180,000.
Javion is working to impact the entire western Jamaican healthcare system as well. He is in talks with the Cornwall Regional Hospital, Noel Holmes Hospital, and Savanna La Mar Hospital to learn if they can be future partners of Project C.U.R.E. and recipients of C.U.R.E. Cargo shipments. He plans to continue working with the partners on the ground and with Project C.U.R.E. to ensure that every dollar donated goes toward improving the community’s health.
Sanonna Newburn is a marketing and communications intern at Project C.U.R.E.’s international headquarters. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communication from Colorado Christian University.