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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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Chairman of the Issa Trust Foundation Paul Issa is pleased with the support received for Saturday’s For the Children charity concert. Held at Couples San Souci Resorts, St Ann, it pulled a huge crowd and allowed the foundation to meet its target of $160,000!
Taken from the Jamaica Gleaner Jun 26, 2017

Chairman of the ISSA Trust Foundation Paul Issa is pleased with the support received for Saturday’s For the Children charity concert. Held at Couples San Souci Resorts, St Ann, it pulled a huge crowd and allowed the foundation to meet its target of $15 million.


Speaking with The Gleaner at the event, Issa said that the foundation may have not only met the target, but exceeded it, He extended his gratitude to those who came out and supported the initiative.


Issa told The Gleaner that funds raised from the concert would go a long way in helping to improve conditions at the St Ann’s Bay Hospital. “I think it went very well. The turnout was great. We sold out completely. This project was specifically for the paediatric ward at the St Ann’s Bay Hospital. I think this is a good start, and we’re on our way. We have been working very closely with the hospital. We did a lot of work in their neo-natal intensive care unit, and now we’re focusing on the whole paediatric ward,” Issa said.


Having booked Air Supply for this year’s event and executing a world-class show, Issa says that he is already thinking of ways to top this year’s event. “I don’t know who we’ll choose, but we chose Tessanne and Air Supply this year, and it was a great show,” Issa said.


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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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The Issa Trust Foundation is pleased to announce the 13th Pediatric Medical Mission to be held in Westmoreland and Hanover. Over the last 13 years, hundreds of volunteers have been involved in the program impacting the lives of thousands of children. We deliver sustainable, quality and impactful results with integrity, compassion and dignity for all.

This year we have a team of 40 volunteers including pediatric pharmacists, intensive care physicians, hematology oncology physician, general pediatricians, neonatologists, and pediatric nurses. Children will receive, at no cost, complete pediatric exams, labs if needed, pharmaceutical medications, fluoride treatments and eye exams, with glasses if needed for children ages birth to 18 years old.

In addition, a team of biomedical engineers will also be partnering with the local maintenance team at Sav La Mar Hospital. The team will work side by side with the staff providing hands on training, repairing equipment and conducting maintenance on incubators, warmers, ventilators and other selected equipment. The biomedical engineers will also bring parts to help repair as much of the equipment as possible.

The Issa Trust Foundation was established in 2005 by Couples Resorts as a nonprofit organization. The mission of the Foundation is to provide a system of prevention, health promotion and education, community health improvement and other services to promote well-being and development for the people of Jamaica.

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Your support saves lives! The story of little Grace sums up the sustainable programs created by the foundation. If it had not been for the training, the donations we provided to St. Ann’s Bay Hospital and the dedication of Dr. Woodham-Auden, her outstanding team of doctors and nurses along Fabia Lamm, Regional Director, the outcome would not have been so joyous.

Taken from the Jamaica Gleaner: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20170106/gods-blesses-couple-miracle-baby

Mandeville, Manchester:

There is no pain greater than that of a mother who thinks she may lose the precious life she was entrusted to bring into this world.
Shelly-Gaye Cuff endured much: having to fight for her own life and reserve strength enough to pray and fight for her baby’s survival.
But God showed up and granted the Cuffs a blessing in the form of doctors and nurses at the St Ann’s Bay Hospital.
“I was 26 weeks pregnant on Friday August 26 of this year (2016). I had just run a few errands and came home to prepare some light dinner. While there I felt a gush – I thought it was urine at first,” she explained.
She ‘Googled’ the normality or abnormality of what had just taken place and even sought the help of a friend who was a medical practitioner.
Soon after, Cuff went to her doctor’s office and yet again experienced another gush of fluid down her thighs. After an examination it was confirmed that she needed to go to the hospital because she was about to have the baby.
With shock and fear of the unknown in less than unfavourable conditions, the soon-to-be mom, with a ruptured membrane and a vulnerable baby, sought to push pass the worst.
“In the early morning of Wednesday, August 31, I started feeling contractions: I wasn’t dilating. I then developed a fever; I was hot then cold, shaking uncontrollably and I couldn’t breathe, my complexion had changed and at that point my body was becoming septic – my body was literally shutting down and I thought I was going to die – my family thought I was going to die.”
By then a doctor advised Cuff that an emergency C-section had to be done, but priority would be given to saving her life, as her baby could very well be dead as a result of an infection.
“When the baby came out she wasn’t breathing, they kept resuscitating her but it wasn’t until after 20 minutes that she gasped. A doctor told my husband that the baby was slowly deteriorating and it was highly unlikely that she would make it to morning.”
She continued, “My baby was there – just panting and the hospital had no ventilator to help her breathe. On September 2, she flat lined three times.”
When it felt it as though hope was diminishing, God reminded the Cuffs who He was and what He can do.
A call came in from the St Ann’s Bay Hospital enquiring if the baby they were told about in Mandeville still needed the ventilator, as a baby had just been discharged.
“JDF (Jamaica Defense Force) came and took the baby to St Ann’s Bay Hospital and the baby not only received the ventilator, but top-class care, I felt as though my baby was the only patient there.”
She continued, “Initially the doctors and nurses said the baby didn’t look promising: they said they were only instruments, it was all God’s doing. Every doctor on call came to the assistance of my baby; it was just a different experience, state-of-the-art care… I want to say thanks to St Ann’s Bay because they didn’t have to take her and to have spent such a great deal of time on her – 59 days – was awesome. I must thank Elaine Johnson-Kelly from NERHA (North Eastern Regional Health Authority) who pretty much opened her home to accommodate me for the period.”
Cuff said upon leaving the hospital, after being granted the go-ahead to take her baby home, she watched all the members of the medical team who knew and worked with her baby, cry.
“They called my baby ‘Miracle’ and ‘Grace’. I’m happy to know that in Jamaica there are still health practitioners who don’t deal with humans as statistics but as persons, amid the negativity around there is a beacon up there in St Ann.s Bay. I’m forever indebted to them for the care they gave to me and my baby.”
With a new found joy; 17-week-old Aaryn-Grace, the Cuffs have, for now, completed their happy home.
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Direct relief is a humanitarian aid organization, active in all 50 states and 70 countries, with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies. Direct relief’s work earns wide recognition from independent charity evaluators, including a 100% fundraising efficiency rating from Forbes, the no. 1 spot on charity navigator’s list of the “10 best charities everyone’s heard of,” and inclusion in fast company’s list of “the world’s most innovative nonprofits.”

Jamaica Information Service Article: Ministry of Health Receives Donation of US$2 Million Worth of Pharmaceuticals

Photo:Minister of Health, Hon Horace Dalley (2nd right) discusses some of the items donated by Issa Trust Foundation and Direct Relief with Permanent Secretary, Dr. Kevin Harvey (right), Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Marion Bullock DuCasse (centre), Chairman of the Issa Trust Foundation, Paul Issa (left) and CEO of the Issa Trust Foundation, Dianne Pollard (2nd left) during the handing over of US$2 million worth of pharmaceuticals held at the Kingston Public Hospital on Friday, January 15, 2016.
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Ernie Sandona (left), biomedical engineer and Issa Trust Foundation volunteer, demonstrates some of the modern features of the state-of-the art ECG machine to Dr Vincent Riley, cardiologist.

Ernie Sandona (left), biomedical engineer and Issa Trust Foundation volunteer, demonstrates some of the modern features of the state-of-the art ECG machine to Dr Vincent Riley, cardiologist.

Reported by the Jamaica Gleaner Friday | November 25, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Over the past two weeks, the Issa Trust Foundation – founded as the non-profit arm of Couples Resorts in 2005 – has donated a total of $10.3 million in equipment and supplies to hospitals in St Mary, St Ann and Portland as well as the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital. Twenty autoclaves (valued at $3.4 million), which are medical electronic equipment that sterilise surgical instruments under high temperature and high pressure, were part of the donation, as well as a new Welch Allyn ECG machine valued at $580,000. A crucial element of donations made by the Issa Trust Foundation is the provision of training and maintenance. Ernie Sandona, a biomedical engineer from Michigan, United States, was on hand to conduct a training session to approximately 30 attendees at the Annotto Bay Conference Centre. His training focused on the proper use and maintenance of the equipment to ensure longevity.   A shipment of new cribs, mattresses, IV poles and baby scales, all donated by Direct Relief, a valued partner of the Issa Trust Foundation, was made to the St Ann’s Bay Hospital with a value of $1.9 million.
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Reported by the Jamaica Gleaner Friday | April 22, 2016 | by Christopher Thomas

Director of the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) Dr Ken Garfield Douglas (left) exchanges a warm handshake with Chairman of the Issa Trust Foundation Paul Issa, while President and Chief Executive Officer of the foundation Diane Pollard shares the moment. Occasion was handover of neonatal equipment to the hospital’s special-care unit.

WESTERN BUREAU:

The Issa Trust Foundation has given a commitment to the Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital in Westmoreland to fully outfit the facility’s neonatal unit as well as finance the training of staff to care for premature babies.

The commitment was given on Tuesday by Paul Issa, the chairman of the Issa Trust Foundation, during a brief launch ceremony on the grounds of the hospital. He also used the opportunity to outline additional plans by the organisation to improve health care at the hospital as well as at other facilities islandwide.

“I think we know that this hospital, along with every other hospital in Jamaica, has had some severe challenges, but we hope to be able to help you bridge the gap and address these issues,” Issa told stakeholders in his brief address. “We want to help you to improve the service that you offer to the community of western Jamaica.”

The neonatal unit has been equipped at a cost of J$24 million. Additional funds will be provided for the training of the staff to operate and maintain the facility. The foundation has also donated US$2,000 (J$244,460.50) worth of disposable equipment, which includes tubing and hypodermic needles, to the unit.

“The unit is based on the model of the special-care nursery we did at the St Ann’s Bay Hospital a few years ago, which has reduced infant mortality rates by 30 per cent,” said Issa. “We have replicated that here, and I think it is really going to change the quality of the neonatal health care at this hospital. We are going to be in an ongoing relationship, and we are very excited about it.”

SIGNIFICANT BOOST

Dr Alfred Dawes, the hospital’s senior medical officer, said the gift of the neonatal unit is a significant boost to the hospital’s capacity to provide high-quality services.

“This unit has really boosted the hospital’s efforts at providing care. Before that, we were not equipped to deal with premature babies, and so they had to be transferred,” said Dawes. “If they were unfortunate enough to be the ones who were not accepted by Cornwall Regional Hospital, then we would not be able to care for them and they would die.”

“With the commitment of the Issa Foundation, and the training programme and the increased staffing that we expect to get, once the nursery is up and running fully, then we should be able to provide top-class care for these premature babies,” added Dawes.

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itf-donate-millions

From the Jamaica Gleaner | January 21, 2016 | Gladstone Taylor

The Issa Trust Foundation (ITF) handed over US$2million worth of pharmaceutical supplies recently during a ceremony held at the Henry Shaw Auditorium at the Kingston Public Hospital.

Among the items were IV fluids, antibiotics, medicine for non-communicable deseases, gloves gowns, and other items to assist in the quality of care provided.

Established in 2005 by Couples Resorts, the ITF focuses on health prevention, promotion, and education, as well as on the improvement of medical services in Jamaica.

The ITF continues its partnership, donating pharmaceuticals on a quarterly basis via air freight to minimise delays in delivery of critical medications.

The foundation also works to reduce infant mortality by improving the capacity of the public-health infrastructure to care for premature, low-weight, and very sick infants.
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