Cricket superstar Marlon Samuels has come to the aid of a Church Teachers' College visually impaired student who was on the brink of dropping out of school because his tuition fees had overwhelmed him.
Samuels said that after reading Garfield Mitchell's story, which appeared in THE STAR last week, he immediately instructed members of his foundation, Marlon Samuels Foundation, to reach out to Mitchell and tell him that he would cover his tuition fee.
"This opportunity comes at a good time because the owner of one the cricket teams that I play for just donated $US10,000 (approximately J$1.3 million) to my foundation," Samuels said.
"It turns out that Mitchell needed about $350,000, so we gonna pay all of it," he said.
On Tuesday morning Samuels donated the funds to Mitchell and an additional Jamaican $1.5 Million to the Jamaica Society For The Blind at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston. Among the attendees were former Prime Minister Portia Simpson and current Entertainment Minister Olivia Babsy Grange among other dignitaries.
Samuels formed the foundation after he had encountered a moment of blindness himself. In 2013, while playing in Australia's domestic cricket league Big Bash Samuel took a nasty blow to one of his eyes from the cricket ball while batting.
"My eye was bloodshot, and I couldn't see, and while I was in a room, I said you can imagine what those people who lose their sight are going through," Samuels said. "And right there, I decided that I would use this opportunity to build the charity after feeling a little bit of what they have to for through for the rest of their lives.
Mitchell, who is from Manchester, has dreams of becoming a teacher. He said though his vision is impaired, he would not allow it to prevent him from achieving his objectives. "People like Senator Floyd Green continues to motivate me to do well."
Mitchell attended the Salvation Army School for the Blind and graduated with seven CSEC subjects, including Mathematics and English. He has already done two surgeries on his eyes, one in 2015 and one in 2016, to remove the cataracts but his sight has only improved slightly.
"The doctors are watching it to see what will happen, but nothing else can be done to correct my vision," said the undaunted 23-year-old, who is convinced that his brightest days are still ahead.