The West Indies Players Association made good its promise to assist 12 year old Romall Lawrence, the aspiring cricket analyst, who suffers from cerebral palsy. WIPA Vice-President Wavell Hinds and Director Michael Hall made the short drive from capital city Kingston to Old Harbour in St Catherine, to meet the engaging and articulate youngster. Accompanying the WIPA members were Juliet Cuthbert, double Olympic silver medalist in the 100 and 200m from the 1992 Games in Barcelona, and Carmen Clarke a member of Cuthbert’s “Boot Camp” which she conducts at her Kingston-based gym and fitness center. A news team from Television Jamaica (TVJ), including reporter Nadine McLeod who first aired a story about Romall on that station’s nightly newscast just about 10 days ago, was also in attendance to capture the moment as part of an intended feature on Romall, to be aired sometime in June.
WIPA made a cash donation of J$50,000, which will be placed in an account at the Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS), Old Harbour Branch, as well as a donation of items essential to Romall’s daily care and comfort. Wavell Hinds was blown away by Romall’s enthusiasm and spirit: “What I see here is a young man who may have physical disabilities, but who clearly has limitless potential as far as his mental and communication skills are concerned,” he said.
Romall was visibly thrilled to meet a “real life” West Indian cricketer, and beamed throughout his interaction with the former regional team batsman. When asked who his favourite West Indian cricketer was, the response was measured, and appeared to have been considered several times over. “If you mean of all time,” reasoned the 12 year old, “I would have to say Brian Lara, but of those presently playing, it is definitely Chris Gayle.”
The WICB has also agreed to be a part of what is hoped will be a new beginning for Romall, and have advised WIPA that they stand ready to make Romall’s dream of meeting the West Indies team members a reality when the regional team faces India in the 5th Digicel / Pearls ODI at Sabina Park on June 16th. The Jamaica Cricket Association’s newly elected President Lyndel Wright has also agreed to do whatever is necessary to ensure the young fan’s enjoyment and comfort on the day. Hearing this news was definitely the highlight of Romall’s day.
For Olympian Cuthbert, this kind of outreach was nothing new for her and her boot camp members, but she confessed that meeting Romall and experiencing first-hand his positive outlook, his confidence and his obvious intellect had moved her almost to tears. “When I think of people who complain about everything, without remembering to be grateful for what they have, and then see Romall, so eager to get on with his life despite all of his obvious challenges, I know that we will continue to help in whatever ways we can.” Her “team” provided Romall and his twin brother Romell with shoes, clothes, books and food items.
Plans are now underway to help Romall’s mother to secure employment, and Hall and Clarke have pledged to find a donor to provide Romall with a newer and more comfortable wheelchair.
All cricket fans, concerned individuals and corporate entities may contribute to Romall and his family’s well-being by making deposits at any Bank of Nova Scotia branch in Jamaica to a/c # 414279, Old Harbour branch. Overseas contributors may contact the branch directly at (876) 983-2205.