Students team up for young heart patients

Cayman Prep and High School students joined Impact 345 members to donate items to young heart patients. Pictured from left are students Sophia Nightingale, Principal Phillip Burgess, Nadia Simmonds, Olivia Plunkett, Jayda Simmonds and Ria Plunket with Britney Dixon, Marika Scotland, Holly Thompson, Janelle Woods and Lana Arch-Jarvis.

A group of young volunteers has been lending a helping hand to young heart patients.

Student volunteers with the Impact 345 group have been giving their time and companionship to children from overseas who have been brought to Cayman for free heart surgeries organized by the Health City Cayman Islands hospital’s Have a Heart Foundation.

Each week, the students visit the patients post-surgery and present them with a backpack filled with goodies. They also play games, read stories and teach each other English, Spanish and Creole.

According to a press release, volunteers Jayda and Nadia Simmonds of Cayman Prep and High School wanted to do even more to help the young patients.

Just before the summer school break, they remembered seeing a pile of unclaimed items left by students at their school under the sign: “Are you missing anything? All unclaimed items will be donated.”

They approached the school’s Office Manager Lana Arch-Jarvis and asked if they could have the unclaimed items, which included backpacks, water bottles, lunch boxes and sweaters. The release states school principal Phillip Burgess gladly agreed, and now the girls will be getting together with other members of Impact 345 to prepare backpacks with those items for the 14 children currently in hospital recovering from heart surgery.

“I encourage the students to continue with this charitable cause and I commended the work of the students and volunteers of Impact 345,” said Mr. Burgess.

The young activists are excited to help.

“Although this donation is a small one, the gift of time and good health is a blessing,” said Jayda.

“Have a Heart Foundation perform miracles of saving these children who are less fortunate than we are, and volunteers with Impact 345 spend quality time with them throughout their recovery. I hope many more of my peers will join us and give of their time,” said Jayda.

Cayman Prep and High School student Ria Plunkett is another volunteer with the project.

“Being part of Impact 345 is incredibly rewarding, I feel I can make a difference in someone’s life just by visiting with, chatting and caring for these children while they are recovering in a strange place.”

Founder of Impact 345 Holly Thompson, a Grade 11 student at Cayman International School, was grateful for the added support.

“I would like to thank Cayman Prep and High School for their donation and, in particular, our volunteer Jayda Simmonds for arranging this donation,” said Holly.

“We’ve already used some of the items in the 19 backpacks we filled for the kids that arrived last week.”

For more information contact Holly Thompson at [email protected]