Local News

A Chance at Life for Six Jamaican Children in Honor of Derrick Mahfood

HOLLYWOOD – The South Florida based medical mission team, Jamaican Children’s Heart Fund Inc., (J.C.H.F), from Joe DiMaggio’s Children Hospital completed their second 2008 mission to Jamaica, providing cost free open heart surgery for children with life threatening needs. This mission was made possible by the dying wish of Mr. Derrick Mahfood to facilitate this mission to Jamaica.

At the urgent request of doctors in Jamaica, the JCHF team traveled to Jamaica on Nov. 5th during which they embarked on two days of lengthy surgeries which averaged 12-16hrs daily. All six surgeries were successfully conducted at the University Hospital of the West Indies, UHWI, in Mona, Jamaica.

Through the support of Air Jamaica, the 17 member medical team headed by DR. Richard Perryman and Dr. Gerald Lavandosky, comprised of 12 medical professionals from South Florida, 1 physician from Seattle children’s Hospital in Washington, and 4 non-medical support team members, which included JCHF’s international ambassador, William “Bunny Rugs” Clark of Third World.

Immediately after the team’s arrival in Kingston, on Wednesday, Nov. 5th, the JCHF team headed to the UHWI for the pre-operation evaluation of the children with the local doctors, Dr. Roger Irvine and Dr. Charmaine Scott. Surgery took place on Thursday and Friday, with the completion of 3 surgeries each day. The JCHF team provided 24 hour round the clock Intensive Care which continued until the Sunday morning, at which time the team made their way to the airport to depart the island.

During the mission there were 8 cases reviewed for surgery, of which 6 children between the ages of newborn to 15yrs were operable and 2 cases were found to be inoperable. The importance of this mission revolved around the desperate timeline of saving these children, who would have been inoperable in a matter of months or weeks, if not days.


Early intervention and healthcare assistance via the implementation of Clinics has been an urgent matter on the JCHF’s Team wish list, which was fulfilled on this mission, with the assistance of corporate partners Hilton Hotel New Kingston. In establishing a new segment to the efforts of the JCHF missions, a one day examination clinic was conducted at the Hilton Hotel, New Kingston, where 88 basic school children ages 2yrs to 5yrs from St. Albans Kids Basic School, St. Paul’s Basic School and Little Angel’s Basic School. The results reflected that the majority of the children were in good medical condition, with about 6 recommended for further medical evaluation. The medical evaluation resulted in 4 children being referred for immediate cardiac evaluation and 2 children for further medical evaluation unrelated to cardiac. The JCHF Physicians received valuable assistance from retired medical professionals from the Kiwanis Club of New Kingston and Constant Spring who registered the children and did the blood pressure and pulse workup.

When a decision has to be made that a child is inoperable, it is devastating to all, but more so to that child. It is as a result of this very sad situation, that JCHF is moved to minimize, if not eliminate these outcomes, by increasing their ability to reach these children in time, to ensure a positive outcome. This effort requires a tremendous push, to raise additional funds to fulfill these objectives.

This mission was made possible with support from partners such as Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Air Jamaica and Hilton New Kingston. The primary sponsorship came from donations on behalf of Mr. Derrick Mahfood, Mayberry Investments, In Motion Dance Studio, Grace Kennedy and Andrew & Andrea Jarrett on behalf of Ashleigh Jarrett. These partners and benefactors responded immediately to this desperate need.

The dedicated supporters of JCHF are adamant in not allowing any child to get to the inoperable stage. But this can only be accomplished by doing more missions per year, as well as detecting the heart disease as early as possible, so that no child with a correctable cardiac birth defect will be left without hope.

How You Can Help!
Support JCHF’s Fundraiser on November 22nd, at Bamboo Gallery, Davie, Fla.
Grammy nominated reggae group Third World, will be hosting a special intimate performance in aid of saving the lives of children, to assist JCHF’s efforts. For more details go to: http://thirdworldband.com/heartfelt.html or contact 305-794-8782 or 305-218-0756
or email: jchfinfo@yahoo.com

Additional information about JCHF can be found at:

Scenes From 2008 Mission Trip

Dr. Richard Perryman with other JCHF team members and local medical staff operating on a child at UHWI.

Dr Gerald Lavandosky with other JCHF team members and local medical staff attending to a child in the ICU.

Bunny Rugs of Third World helping out with the children attending the day clinic held at the Hilton Hotel New Kingston

Mrs Derrick Mahfood along with daughter Susan Mahfood, Bunny Rugs and Ms. Kayree Berry-Teape of Mayberry Investments look on as Madline Faisca, JCHF intensive care nurse, comforts five-month-old Niles Simpson hours after he received open-heart surgery.

Related Articles

Back to top button