The Service has been a strong supporter of Camp Jumoke for the last two decades.
Established in 1994 by the Association for the Advancement of Blacks in Health Sciences, Camp Jumoke is the only camp of its kind in Canada that serves the unique emotional and health care needs of children with sickle cell disease.
Frontline and senior officers along civilians have taken part in the annual walk-a-thon which determines the number of children that can attend the organization’s two-week camp each year.
It costs almost $2,000 to send a child to the camp.
Deputy Chief Peter Sloly’s initial interaction with the organization was in 1996 when he responded to a request from retired Deputy Chief to assist with the organization of police security for the walk-a-thon at Nathan Phillips Square.
For the last 19 years, Slowly has been associated with the organization in some form or the other. When he’s not walking to raise money, he fundraises on his own as he did a few years ago by securing $20,000 sponsorship from the Carpenters District Council of Ontario.
“While sickle cell disease has not touched my family directly, it touches my community and my heart,” Sloly said, in the keynote address at the organization’s 11th annual Beverly Mascoll Memorial Scholarship award dinner on September 13 in Woodridge.
Sloly reiterated the Service's support for Camp Jumoke and urged young sickle cell sufferers to persevere despite the odds they face.
“With three back surgeries, I have constantly had to manage pain and be aware of my limitations,” he said. “But I have not allowed that to hold me back from the things I want to accomplish. You can do the same.”
Mascoll, an Order of Canada recipient and president of Mascoll Beauty Supply Ltd. who passed away in May 2001, was a staunch supporter of Camp Jumoke, which relies on private funding for its initiatives.
This year’s $2,000 scholarship winner is 14-year-old Ayanna Joseph-Stanislaus who is Camp Jumoke’s 2014-15 child ambassador.
The Ajax High School Grade 10 student was diagnosed with sickle cell when she was six months old.
Sickle cell disease is a life-threatening and hereditary blood disorder that causes malformation of red blood cells that become distorted when they transmit oxygen through the body.
Young people suffer unbearable bone pain and miss substantial classroom time because of frequent hospitalizations.
“Sometimes the pain is intolerable, but I have been fortunate in that I have not had to miss school a lot,” said Joseph-Stanislaus who has been a Camp Jumoke participant for the last four years. “I don’t allow the disease to affect me socially, but it hampers me physically sometimes when I am in gym as I am unable to keep up with other students.”
A total of 15 young people have benefited from Beverly Mascoll Memorial Scholarships since the program was created a decade ago.