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Vacation tragedy

KIND donors have made it possible for the body of seven-year-old Javaughn Black — the Jamaican boy who died last weekend while on vacation in Canada — to be flown home for burial.

The money was raised through a GoFundMe account, “Let’s Send Home Javaughn”, created for the purpose.

Javaughn, the only son of Jamaica Constabulary Force Detective Corporal Sherrie Thomas, died on Saturday in an apparent drowning at Sandbanks Provincial Park in Canada.

The US$10,000 target of the fund-raiser was surpassed in mere hours with 234 people donating US$11,930.

According to the GoFundMe account — — created by Denise Brown-Thomas and Justine Ramdowar, who both reside in the Greater Toronto Area, Javaughn, who was on his first trip overseas with his mother and 15-year-old sister, Jhonelle, was attending a trip organised by Ramdowar when tragedy struck.

“What was supposed to be a fun-filled experience turned out to be a day of tragedy when Javaughn lost his life in an accidental drowning. Every effort was made to revive Javaughn by emergency responders, including an off-duty ER doctor that happened to be at the beach with her own family. Forty-five minutes after arriving at Prince Edward Memorial Hospital doctors gave the horrible news that Javaughn was gone,” wrote Thomas, the wife of the female corporal’s cousin, and Ramdowar.

The GoFundMe account stated that the goal is to raise enough funds to cover the cost of having Javaughn’s body prepared at a funeral home in Ontario then transported from there to an airline and flown to Jamaica, where the body will be conveyed to a funeral home of the family’s choice to conduct his final services.

Some of the 234 donors left comments on the GoFundMe account expressing condolence and saying how heartbreaking it was to witness the ordeal.

“Sherrie, my family and I were at Sandbanks and witnessed you losing your precious son. I heard your screams of pure agony. It broke my heart. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. Our thoughts are with you and your family at this terrible time. I pray you and your family will find peace. RIP, sweet boy,” wrote Charlene Akey.

Another donor, Kimberley Burroughs McDonald, wrote: “Dearest Sherrie and family of Javaughn, we were at the Sandbanks the afternoon when you lost your precious boy. I heard your deep mama cry and I have prayed a thousand prayers for you since then. I have thought of his sister and all his family. May you all know God’s love and strength and the love of many Canadians who are thinking of you at this time.”

Christine Dube, the doctor who tried to help the boy, also expressed sorrow at the tragedy: “I am so extremely sorry for your loss. I am the ER doctor, along with an amazing team of bystanders and emergency responders who tried to revive him as quickly as possible. I wish something more could have been done. Such a tragic and devastating loss. My deepest condolence to the entire family. Javaughn has now forever touched my heart, may [he] rest in peace, sweet little boy,” she wrote.

The Jamaica Police Federation also expressed condolence to Detective Corporal Thomas.

“We know that Sherrie loved her son beyond measure and all boundaries,” Arleen McBean, chairman of the federation, said in a statement to rank-and-file police.

“Sherrie, we are here for you through difficult times and beyond. We all declare that the Almighty God will cover you and your family with His comforting hands, spirit of strength and healing powers,” McBean said.

The funds are to be withdrawn by Ramdowar and directly given to Thomas to offset the expenses to fly Javaughn’s body to Jamaica. Additional funds raised will go towards funeral arrangements.