TSTT Foundation and Chris Brown Support Cancer NGOs

Trinidad - Never in her wildest dreams did 17 year old Janeen Roberts ever expect to meet American pop sensation Chris Brown. But that is exactly what happened on Saturday, June 28 when she met him before his concert appearance in Trinidad and Tobago.

“I just never expected something like that to happen to me,” she said. Roberts was one of six children who were given tickets to the Platinum section and met both Chris Brown and Soca superstar Machel Montano before the concert. bmobile was a sponsor of the concert in collaboration with 96.1 FM.

As part of its ongoing thrust to support youth development in the areas of sport, culture, education and health, the TSTT Foundation used Brown’s visit as an opportunity to present a cheque for $21,000, to three NGO’s involved in the fight against cancer, including, the Trinidad and Tobago Cancer Society, the Just Because Foundation and the Children with Cancer Support Group.

Brown has been using his celebrity status to support causes such as the St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, having already raised over US$50,000 for the US-based medical facility for the treatment of kids with cancer and other deadly diseases.

According to Camille Salandy, TSTT’s Head of Public Relations and External Affairs, “We were quite pleased when we found out about Chris Brown’s involvement with such causes. For us it was a natural fit with the TSTT Foundation and our own developmental goals. Chris was gracious enough to not only present the cheque on the Foundation’s behalf, but he also met, chatted and posed for pictures with children from the organizations that received the donation.”

The TSTT Foundation was launched in 2005 and makes annual cash and kind donations to the value of approximately five million dollars which is used to support initiatives that encourage youth development. Through TSTT’s comprehensive corporate social responsibility programme, the organization will continue to support and raise awareness on health issues that affect young people such as cancer. The three organizations benefiting from the donation all have a track record in helping those battling the disease and their families. The Cancer Society provides various services – including low-cost testing, transportation to treatment centres, funding, meals and counselling. The Society’s latest project is the construction of a hospice for terminally ill patients to spend their final days in comfort.

“We do as much as we can to help anyone we can,” says Ann Paula Bibby, Project Manager. A much smaller organisation, but one just as committed to helping kids with the disease, is the Children with Cancer Support Group (CCSG). CCSG’s intense focus on outreach comes from a deeply personal place – the membership is made up mainly of parents with children who either have cancer or have died as a result of it.

“I’m doing this for my daughter,” says CCSG president Rosanna Rattan. “It’s what she would have wanted.” CCSG concentrates its efforts not only on providing material support but on tending to patients’ psychological needs. The approximately 25-member group gives money, holds Christmas and birthday parties, visits clinics and provides emotional support to parents and children in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider region.

The third of the three organisations to receive part of the $21,000 donation is the smallest, but its work is just as crucial to Trinidad and Tobago’s cancer-fighting community. The Just Because Foundation (JBF) consists of the Joseph family – Chevaughn, Noel and their daughter, 10-year-old Raven. JBF was formed after the passing of the Joseph’s son – Jabez or “JB” as he was affectionately known.

Like CCSG, JBF concentrates their efforts on caring for children stricken with cancer and their parents, but they do so on a smaller and more intimate scale. JBF rents a four-bedroom house in Diego Martin to house families with a child with cancer, bringing them closer to treatment centres, providing foodstuff, transportation and even spending time with the other family members.

“It’s about families,” says JBF president Chevaughn Joseph, explaining that JBF also has a “Siblings Club” for the brothers and sisters of kids with cancer, an initiative created because of the effect Jabez’s passing had on their daughter. “It’s a daily challenge for organizations like ours where services are freely given. The support from the TSTT Foundation and Chris Brown will help raise public awareness of the issues facing children with cancer and their families.”

“The kids had a ball right down to the end of the concert,” said Camille Campbell, TSTT’s Head of Mobile Operations, “We are very happy to have facilitated this. We sponsored a concert by an international star and engineered a once in a lifetime experience for some very special children.”