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.
â€œWhen she took my hand and put it on her heart it was like a chainsaw and that gave me goose bumps,â€ Shamie said. â€œFor a child of six years-old to go through something like this, I canâ€™t imagine what this child is going through.â€
Somaâ€™s hospital stays are costly to her family, according to Shamie who donated about $500 to Somaâ€™s family before leaving Guyana and promised herself she would raise more support upon returning to Ucluelet.
â€œIâ€™ve seen a lot of kids pass away (and) horrible deaths growing up,â€ Shamie said. â€œIâ€™ve seen a lot of families lose their children because they donâ€™t have the finances.â€
She hopes to raise $2,500 for Somaâ€™s family by September’s end to help relieve some of the familyâ€™s hospital bills.
â€œIâ€™m asking for a little bit of help,â€ Shamie said. â€œThere 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.â€
She recalled growing up in Guyana where community members would donate money each week in case an emergency ever struck one of the communityâ€™s families and she knows what itâ€™s like to need the communityâ€™s support.
â€œI know what itâ€™s like first-hand because my kids were sick too,â€ she said. â€œMy oldest daughter was born over there (Guyana) and she was sick and everybody chipped in to help.â€
Shamie, who owns and operates Uclueletâ€™s 4-Spice Restaurant, has turned her restaurantâ€™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.
â€œItâ€™s a small town and everyone knows everyone and everyone helps each other,â€ she said.
â€œFrom day-one that Iâ€™ve been here theyâ€™ve been supporting me and my business with everything; they support us and Iâ€™m confident they will help us…I know they will support us and help this child.â€
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.
â€œKids are important to all of us and if we donâ€™t take care for them we have no future,â€ she said. â€œWithout 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.â€
Donations can be dropped off at 4-Spice on Peninsula Road in Ucluelet.