Ucluelet local fundraising locally to help globally

Local philanthropist and restaurateur Shamie Adeken is back on the fundraising wagon.

 Shamie hopes to raise $2,500 by the end of September for a young Guyanese girl living with a severe heart condition.

Shamie was in Belvedere, Guyana, last winter helping to rebuild her former elementary school when she met Soma Prittipaul, a six-year-old suffering from a heart condition that requires expensive and frequent treatment.

“When she took my hand and put it on her heart it was like a chainsaw and that gave me goose bumps,” Shamie said. “For a child of six years-old to go through something like this, I can’t imagine what this child is going through.”

Soma’s hospital stays are costly to her family, according to Shamie who donated about $500 to Soma’s family before leaving Guyana and promised herself she would raise more support upon returning to Ucluelet.

“I’ve seen a lot of kids pass away (and) horrible deaths growing up,” Shamie said. “I’ve seen a lot of families lose their children because they don’t have the finances.”

She hopes to raise $2,500 for Soma’s family by September’s end to help relieve some of the family’s hospital bills.

“I’m asking for a little bit of help,” Shamie said. “There are so many kids all over the world going through this but if we reach our hands out and help one, that goes a long way.”

She recalled growing up in Guyana where community members would donate money each week in case an emergency ever struck one of the community’s families and she knows what it’s like to need the community’s support.

“I know what it’s like first-hand because my kids were sick too,” she said. “My oldest daughter was born over there (Guyana) and she was sick and everybody chipped in to help.”

Shamie, who owns and operates Ucluelet’s 4-Spice Restaurant, has turned her restaurant’s tip-jar into an emergency fund for Soma and is also collecting direct donations.

She is confident Ucluelet will answer her call of support.

“It’s a small town and everyone knows everyone and everyone helps each other,” she said.

 â€œFrom day-one that I’ve been here they’ve been supporting me and my business with everything; they support us and I’m confident they will help us…I know they will support us and help this child.”

She is excited to help locals experience the good feelings that come from helping others and hopes her fellow West Coasters realize the global importance of assisting children in need.

“Kids are important to all of us and if we don’t take care for them we have no future,” she said. “Without them there is no future so we have to help them and not just my kids, or your kids, or kids from my country, but kids from everywhere; they all deserve our attention.”

Donations can be dropped off at 4-Spice on Peninsula Road in Ucluelet.

reporter@westerlynews.ca