By Jennifer Browning
On and off the court Project Medishare/UM Global Institute and the people of Haiti have received an outpouring of support from the athletic community.
After reaching Project Medishare Co-Founder, Dr. Arthur Fournier, former Miami Heat Alonzo Mourning flew down to Haiti three days after the quake. Mourning told Fournier that he was willing to do whatever he could, even manual labor.
Upon Mourning’s return he announced through AM Charities that he plans to raise $1 million and match that amount to help Project Medishare/UM Global Institute’s medical relief efforts in Port-au-Prince. He began working with a Miami party-planning company to donate four large air conditioned tents to provide Project Medishare/UM Global Institute their own makeshift hospital which included a surgical room. Two days later, Mourning gathered ’76ers Samuel Dalembert and ESPN analyst Desmond Howard to join him to return to Haiti to volunteer once more and help the set up of the new trauma clinic.
A tearful Samuel Dalembert told news reporters how difficult it was for him to see “children without parents, wandering in desperation.” It the children that Dalembert seems to reach out towards the most. The Haitian-born basketball player has donated over $100,000 to relief efforts in Haiti. He has been a long time supporter of Project Medishare and UNICEF.
Upon their return to Miami, Dalembert and Mourning escorted a young boy to his new family in Arizona. Evens Paul was in the process of being adopted, but his official paperwork disappeared underneath the rubble after the earthquake. Evens Paul’s adopted parents, The Gorackes were working with their adoption agency, and worked out a plan to bring Evens Paul home–but the couple couldn’t get to Haiti fast enough. The young boy was picked up by Mourning and Dalembert who saw to it that Evens Paul’s paperwork was taken care of at the U.S. Embassy in Haiti. After landing in Miami, Mourning and Dalembert waited with the boy in customs until his new father, Jason Gorackes, arrived.
Mourning’s former Miami Heat teammate Dwyane Wade are trying to recruit other pro athletes in an effort to raise funds for the recovery.
In a statement first released to The Associated Press, Mourning said he is confident athletes can “make a difference” for those affected by the earthquake and its aftershocks. He and Wade are calling their philantrophic efforts the “Athletes Relief Fund for Haiti.” All proceeds go to fund Project Medishare/UM Global Institute’s medical relief efforts in Haiti.
Miami Heat’s broadcaster’s and some of the player’s sported green wristband’s at Saturday night’s game showing their support for Project Medishare/UM Global Institute’s medical relief efforts in Haiti.
Welterweight titleholder Andre Berto withdrew last week from his scheduled
unification fight with Shane Mosley on Jan. 30 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Born to Haitian parents, Berto said he knows that boxing won’t wait for him, but that right now family comes first.
“Some things are bigger than what you do in your professional life and career,” Berto told the Examiner. “You see things happen to your family and a country you’ve tried to help inspire and it takes a toll on you.”
Eight of Andre’s relatives died in the earthquake after a home filled with his mother’s family, siblings and cousins, collapsed. Andre’s half-sister, Naomi, who wasn’t heard from for two days, is now living on the streets with his six-year-old niece, Jessica, because their home was destroyed. If Naomi and Jessica had not decided to take a walk shortly before the earthquake, their fate could have been similar.
Berto headed Haiti last week with Project Medishare/UM Global Institute, sporting “Team Berto” t-shirts.
Detroit Tiger’s Miguel Cabrera pledged $90,000 to Project Medishare/UM Global Institute and his team is pledging an additional $10,000 to contribute toward the earthquake relief efforts.
With the assistance of such star athletes, Project Medishare/UM Global Institute has a better chance in getting Haiti ready for her next big game. No one is naive about the challenge ahead. This is the first quarter of the big match. Round one in the fight. With such support from athletes, corporations, partnering universities, organizations and individuals alike, Haiti has hope for rebuilding into a stronger, better place.
Continue to help Project Medishare/UM Global Institute stay strong in helping Haiti work her way back. Click here to support Project Medishare/UM Global Institute’s continued relief efforts in Port-au-Prince.