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Taken from Billboard Jul 25, 2017

It’s a warm late June evening at a fundraising concert in Jamaica; the crowd surges forward, glow sticks in hand, cell phones held aloft to capture the moment as the headlining act takes the stage. The singer’s honeyed delivery of the lyrics (“close your eyes I want to see you tonight in my sweet dreams”) is nearly overwhelmed by screams from female fans and the audience singing every word of the hit song.


The rapturous outpouring wasn’t for the latest dancehall sensation or a roots rock legend: This was the return of Air Supply, the veteran soft rock group’s sixth performance on the island since their debut set in 2007 at the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, which provoked an equally enthusiastic response. Russell Hitchcock (lead vocals) and Graham Russell (vocals, guitars, keyboards) met in a 1977 performance of Jesus Christ Superstar in Australia and formed Air Supply shortly thereafter. They signed with Arista Records in 1979 and sold millions of records throughout the 1980s. In their Jamaican debut 10 year ago, just like their performance on the island last month, the duo were visibly moved by the audience’s fervor throughout a set that rocked much harder than their music’s easy listening categorization would suggest.


“You never know how a country is going to greet you when you go there for the first time, if the people will like your music or even know who you are so it was a surprise, initially, to realize the audience knows our music as well as they do here,” Russell Hitchcock told Billboard in an interview at Couples Resorts San Souci (located close to the Jamaica resort town of Ocho Rios) a day before their June 24 performance for the nonprofit Issa Trust Foundation. “A large percentage of the population in Jamaica likes our music, which is very unusual because we are really romantic and the island’s music is very different, very reggae, and yet in some strange way we fit right in there,” adds Graham.


Further evidence of Air Supply’s popularity on the island can be heard in the numerous cover versions of their songs by Jamaican artists including vocalist Ghost’s haunting, high-pitched reworking of “Making Love Out of Nothing At All,” Sanchez’s “Here I Am,” a staple within the beloved singer’s live sets, and vocal quartet L.U.S.T.’s gorgeous rendition of “Just As I Am,” which topped various Jamaican and international reggae charts when it was released in 2008, earning accolades from the song’s co-writer Rob Hegel. These and other reggae versions of Air Supply’s music, like the originals that spawned them, still receive regular play on Jamaican radio stations.


“Jamaica has a long lasting love relationship with Air Supply and they look forward to renewing that vow with them every so often; their music is one of the reasons we have so many kids here,” jokes Singing Melody, one of the four outstanding voices in L.U.S.T., alongside Tony Curtis, Lukie D and Thrilla U. “Their music really strikes a note among Jamaicans. They’ve performed here many times and their shows are always jam-packed; I think they should just buy houses and live here because the people love them so much.”


Air Supply’s beloved status in reggae’s birthplace — and their ability to attract large audiences there — has led to their appointment as musical ambassadors for the Issa Trust Foundation, a nonprofit organization established in 2005 by Couples Resorts, founded by the late Abe Issa, a pivotal figure in the development of the island’s booming tourism trade and the first president of the Jamaica Tourist Board. Chaired by Abe’s son Paul Issa, the Issa Trust Foundation provides pediatric medical care, at the highest standard possible, for many children whose families could not afford it otherwise, and collaborates with hospitals, health centers and local organizations throughout Jamaica to identify the most significant health issues. The Issa Trust Foundation’s first major fundraiser, An Evening with Air Supply, also featured Jamaica’s Tessanne Chin (season 5 winner of NBC’s The Voice) and reggae artist Djani. The sold-out affair moved 1,800 tickets ($80 for general admission, $150 for VIP) and raised $160,000 (after expenses) with all proceeds going to the pediatric unit at Jamaica’s St. Ann’s Bay Hospital.


“We wanted a musical ambassador who could bring attention to the foundation, get the word out about who we are, what we do, and we wanted them to come to Jamaica and perform. So we reached out to Air Supply because they are so big here,” explained Diane Pollard, President and CEO of the Issa Trust Foundation. While on vacation in Jamaica 20 years ago, Diane approached Couples Resorts about establishing a nonprofit to assist with pediatric care because none existed on the island at that time. Based in Iowa, Diane, formerly a loan executive with United Way, sources funding for the foundation, writes the programs and visits Jamaica at least six times per year, working with the island’s doctors and nurses to ensure the programs are effective and properly implemented.


Air Supply toured the St. Ann’s Bay Hospital in 2015 and spoke with the children there, and saw first hand the lack of basic facilities, which clinched their involvement. “It was very sad because the equipment the hospital had is archaic and to see the kids suffering so badly for the want of a ventilator is horrendous in this day and age so we are trying our best to make people aware of the situation. We’ve put information about the foundation on our website and social media; children are our future and they need to be taken care of,” acknowledged Russell. “We travel the world and see some heartbreaking things, people living under freeways, homeless children living on the streets. You can’t change everything, but you can change some things. This was an opportunity to raise money and for us it is all about helping where we can,” offers Graham.


Following their acceptance of an ambassadorial role with the Issa Trust Foundation, it took over a year to schedule a date for the Air Supply fundraising concert, due primarily to the band’s hectic touring itinerary. While contemporary top 40 radio has long forgotten Air Supply, much of the world continues to embrace their melodic, lushly produced music; they performed 130 shows in 2016 and are solidly booked through most of 2018, with Asia, Mexico, Central and South America particularly strong territories for the group. “You have your day in the sunshine, critics and radio were all over us when we first started, we had an incredible string of hits, and then in 1987 radio just refused to play us in North America, tastes changed and kids wanted something new,” observes Russell. “Our music is classified as light, easy listening and when people first see us they expect a mellow, quiet performance but we have always considered ourselves a rock band and we are very proud of our live shows.”


In 1979 Clive Davis signed Air Supply to Arista Records after hearing a five-and-a-half-minute version of their ballad “Lost in Love” written by Graham, a top 20 hit in Australia and New Zealand. Davis had the song remixed and released it in the U.S. in January 1980, as the title track to the Lost in Love album. The single peaked at No. 3 on the Hot 100; the album sold three million copies, reaching No. 22 on the Billboard 200, and spawned two more top 5 singles “All Out of Love” (No. 2) and “Every Woman in the World” (No. 5). More soft rock favorites followed throughout the 1980s including “Even The Nights Are Better,” “Here I Am” and “Making Love Out of Nothing At All.” “Lonely Is the Night,” released in 1986, was their last Billboard Hot 100 hit.


Air Supply waived their performance fee for the Issa Trust Foundation event. For the evening’s auction segment, Graham donated his custom built Telecaster guitar which fetched $3,000, a sum matched by the group’s donation to the foundation. Graham also wrote a song called “We Are Here” for the occasion and specifically requested children from the nearby Free Hill Basic School (whom Graham and Russell heard sing on a previous visit) join Air Supply onstage and provide backing vocals in their world premiere of the song.


The money generated by An Evening with Air Supply will go toward purchasing much needed equipment for the hospital including 35 beds, over the bed tables, patient monitors, lighting, chairs for parents at each side of the bed, air conditioning and new windows. “We want the pediatric ward to be of first world standards and we are now discussing the steps to get this done,” notes Pollard. “I hope we can build relationships with companies to help; $160,000 sounds like a lot of money, but the project will cost a lot more.”


With their fundraising efforts and ongoing ambassadorial role expanding the fond relationship between Air Supply and Jamaica, can collaborations with the island’s reggae acts be far behind? “We would love to work with artists here but no one has called us,” acknowledged Graham. “It’s just that simple if you make that outreach,” adds Russell. “It is really a matter of timing, we are always on the road but we are always open to the idea.”


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Taken from the Jamaica Gleaner Jun 26, 2017

With tickets costing $10,000 and $2,000, patrons certainly got their money’s worth as the ISSA Trust Foundation delivered a night of world-class entertainment on Saturday.


Although there were only three artistes billed for the night, they were enough to satisfy the musical craving of the huge audience that converged on the lawns of Couples San Soucci Resorts in St Ann. Djani served as the evening’s opening act and did well to whet the appetites of the growing crowd. After delivering a crowd-pleasing set, he made way for songbird Tessanne Chin.


Chin took the concert to a whole new level and had the entire venue dancing and singing along to her selections as she wowed with each song. Delivering hits from singers like Whitney Houston, No Doubt, and Pink, in addition to a few of her own original songs, the Voice Season 5 winner had the audience totally captivated. Closing out a superb set with her breakout single Hideaway, Jamaica’s songbird proved to be just what the audience needed to get them amped up for the night’s main act, Air Supply.


After a brief band change, the Australian powerhouse made their way to the stage. They were met with screams and a resounding round of applause as they opened with Sweet Dreams. It was a singalong from start to finish during their set as the audience participated in every song the duo performed.


The audience was so enthralled that not even the threat of rain could force their attention away from the stage. As the heavens opened up, patrons got out their umbrellas or raincoats. Those who didn’t have those got up from their seats and used the chairs as cover, determined not to miss a second of the show.


Luckily, the rains did not last for long, and soon, things were back to normal. Air Supply went on to deliver hits such as Even The Nights are Better, Every Woman in the World, Here I Am, Making Love out of Nothing at All, and All out of Love.


As they made their exit from the stage, the band thanked patrons for coming out, stating that the contribution would go a far way in improving the quality of health care offered at the St Ann’s Bay Hospital. Air Supply also challenged guests to visit the ISSA Trust Foundation’s website and make further donations, stating that they would match each pledge made.


The night ended with an after-party at the beach, hosted by DJ Bambino.


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Taken from the Jamaica Observer Jun 26, 2017

AUSTRALIAN soft rock band Air Supply brought out throngs of fans to the Lily Pond Lawn at Couples Sans Souci resort in St Ann on Saturday evening.


The outdoor concert, dubbed An Evening with Air Supply, was organised by the Issa Trust Foundation. It raised funds for the paediatric ward of St Ann’s Bay Hospital.


Guitarist Graham Russell and vocalist Russell Hitchcock had patrons singing along during their 75-minute set.


“Air Supply did a marvellous job. They’ve always been popular in Jamaica. They’re really a hit, and the audience was really into them. Their songs are kinda love anthems of the 1980s and 90s and they still sound fresh today. I even saw young people singing every word,” Paul Issa, chairman of the Issa Trust Foundation, told the Jamaica Observer.


Air Supply, who emerged in the 1970s, sang all their major hits including Making Love Out Of Nothing At All, Just As I Am, Even The Nights Are Better, and Here I Am. The band also performed We Are Here, with students of Free Hill Primary School from St Mary.


“They (Air Supply) wrote We Are Here for the Foundation, and it was the first time they were performing it. That was a very nice touch,” said Issa. “Air Supply came on board as Goodwill ambassadors two years ago. They’re just down-to-earth guys.”


The inaugural occasion also saw performances from Tessanne Chin and Djani.


“Tessanne was good. They all put on a great show,” said Issa.


In-between sets there were presentations of works from the Issa Trust Foundation.


The chairman said, while the final figures are not yet in, he thinks they surpassed their $15-million target.


“I’m now thinking that the concert should be a yearly event. Hopefully, going forward, it will,” he said. “Jamaicans are generally kind people; if you give them an opportunity to support a worthy cause with great entertainment, they will support it.”


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I can’t believe these 4 weeks have flown by so fast! Working with wonderful physicians every day, learning how to manage common, and not so common, illnesses with limited resources, and living on this beautiful island has been an experience I will never forget.  During my time in the clinics and ERs at Port Maria, Annotto Bay and Port Antonio hospitals, I have seen much of the same problems as in the US: colds (which can be any number of symptoms), rashes, eczema, asthma, URIs, sickle cell complications, failure to thrive, etc. However, being the only pediatrician at times, I felt I could offer a sometimes more appropriate approach to the children. Yet, at other times, I needed the assistance of my more experience colleagues in improvising and using clinical judgment without the luxury of readily available tests and imaging I have grown accustomed to.  This month also gave me a chance to make independent decisions (with support available) and build up my confidence as I get ready to leave residency and enter the pediatric world on my own. Nearly every day, I had the chance to put in IVs, or suture or splint – all important skills of course.  Parents appreciated the chance to see a pediatrician and get explanations from a doctor. I remember my very first day when I had to admit a little girl with pneumonia and the father thanked me, saying they had been in the ER all night and no one had diagnosed her or explained anything. Though most of the time it was rewarding, there is is one case in particular I would like to highlight as it was extremely humbling and emotional for me and points out some of the challenges of working with fewer resources and without trained pediatricians in all hospitals.  A couple weeks ago, a mother brought in her 8mo infant complaining of continued fever for at least 1 week and parotid swelling. She had brought the child in to the same ER twice in the previous week with the same complaint and though lymphadenitis and different descriptions of the swelling were noted in the chart, she went home each time with antibiotics. This time, however, she was fussier, in and out of sleep in her mother’s arms, and I must admit the parotid swelling was incredibly impressive and unusual for me. She also had very large non-mobile sub-mandibular lymph nodes. Her mom said was continued to take fluids, though appetite poor. My first thought was mumps – which others confirmed has not been seen in Jamaica in many years – or another viral illness. However, her weakness, ongoing fever for more than a week and such large nodes and swelling bothered me. I got an xray to ensure the masses were not compressing her airway , then decided to draw labs and admit on IV antibiotics. Once we starting sticking her for labs, we noticed she was not clotting well. After getting an IV in her foot, we decided to get a culture. Here, cultures are often obtained through the femoral vein. I did feel uncomfortable with it but a colleague insisted. At this point, we noticed the child stopped struggling against our phlebotomy sticks and was more lethargic. WE placed pressure for several minutes and wrapped the leg tightly. However, with ongoing bleeding and hematoma forming, we were sure this child had a coagulopathy and perhaps in DIC. Though she initially denied any bleeding or bruising in the child, she later noted some gum bleeding at home.  Her HR at been 150 with a fever, a NS bolus was started and soon after, we noticed wheezing and on closer examination, hepatosplenomegaly.  Two melena stools were noted while in the ER as well. Malignancy was now at the top of our differential with the possibility of pulmonary hemorrhage vs leukocyte infiltrate. We were preparing FFP when labs returned comfirming our diagnosis of leukemia: WBC 225K, Hb 4.7, Plts 44K. This was an extremely hyper-leukocytosis and likely already meant she was  having tumor lysis.  As we awaited her type and screen, we tried to get O- FFP and pRBCs but this was unavailable. So we had to wait for the appropriate type – FFP was given ASAP though.   After this, her HR plummeted as well as her respiratory effort and her O2 sats. CPR was initiated and continued for 35min before she was pronounced dead. There is much to learn from this case. Though childhood leukemia has incredibly high cure rates in the US, this is not the case in most low and middle income countries largely due to late diagnosis.  This can often be due to lack of knowledge amongst providers on how children present with cancer as it can be different than adults. I don’t blame anyone in particular, but clearly a few things were missed along the way and there was likely a poor prognosis at this point. However, in a setting where blood is not always readily available, I believe we need to be extremely cautious in how we take blood and how much we take from a child. This was something I discussed with my colleagues there in our debriefings after the case.  I know that we may not have had much a chance to save her, but I will never forget her and will undoubtedly take lessons from this case as I move through my career. It was not all work and sad cases of course and truly had a blast in Jamaica! The resort was incredible – food, beach, entertainment and amazing staff. On the weekends, I explored all over the island. I highly recommend spending a weekend near Port Antonio, the most beautiful part of the island and with famous jerk chicken. Thank you ISSA Trust for this opportunity and I’ll definitely be coming back!

Sweet little boy with newly diagnosed Sickle Cell Disease presenting with Acute Chest. (was only playing in wheelchair, but his shirt was fitting)

   
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♫ Until the philosophy which hold one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned ..Until there’s no longer first class and second class citizens of any nation.. Until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his.. eyes ..Until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all, without regard to race.. ♫        
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