With thousands of viewers locked in on ABS TV last Saturday afternoon, JCI Antigua hosted their first Virtual Fitness Jam.
For the past five years, the JCI Antigua Senator Leandra James Cancer Awareness Campaign has hosted the island’s largest fitness jam and health walk consistently and without fail. Year after year the number of registered participants has steadily inclined into the thousands with over 1500 participants on the road in 2019.
However, with health security measures in place because of the world-wide pandemic of COVID-19, the non-profit organization was determined to find a way to ensure the 2020 edition of the fitness jam is still on the books.
That creativity led the youth-based organization to host the first-ever, virtual fitness jam utilizing the country’s state media – ABS, which through social media and online platforms such as Facebook and zoom allowed for participants to ‘jam for the cause’.
To host an event which typically engages well over a thousand persons on the road, JCI Antigua brought together thousands more this year through social media. According to the President of JCI Antigua, President Andrea Smithen, “We could have easily canceled Colour Run. However, that is not the JCI Antigua way! We instead capitalized on the digital tools available. Of course, there was some uncertainty about moving it online but JCI teaches us to be enterprising. The first-ever Virtual Fitness Jam is reflective of how JCI Antigua has adapted its initiatives to virtually create a positive impact. In this our Diamond Jubilee year, history is constantly being made with the new and innovative ways that we fulfill our mandate of service to humanity.”
The event, which is a key staple in the organization’s campaign in its fight against cancer, is focused on increasing awareness and educating the public about the deadly disease of cancer. The educational campaign encompasses talks from medical professionals via radio programs that focus on various types of cancer at different intervals.
A major aspect of the campaign is the annual JCI Antigua Senator Leandra James Cancer Awareness Campaign Colour Run and Fitness Jam which is focused on promoting a healthy lifestyle by executing a fun and exciting event where members of the community can exercise together. Different colours of powder are also used to represent different types of cancer to raise awareness.
Though roadside jamming and coloured powder were missing this year, the organization witnessed well over 7,000 views on the live Facebook feed with hundreds of viewers commenting and showcasing their support of the event.
Danielle Benjamin chairman of the Senator Leandra James Cancer Awareness Campaign stated that, “it was still important to have the Fitness Jam despite COVID-19 because, in an environment like this where persons with underlying conditions are highly affected, cancer awareness, research, treatment is even more important. In a time when we are all forced to be physically distanced having this level of socialization on a national platform promoting fitness and well-being was something JCI Antigua wanted to give to our communities.”
Through the yearly hosted event, JCI Antigua has been able to donate and lend support to institutions such as the Cancer Center Eastern Caribbean, which treats cancer patients from across the OECS, donated key medical aid and equipment to the Mount St. John’s Medical Center and to the St. John’s Hospice.
Earlier this year, JCI Antigua, in collaboration with LICS Limited made a timely donation of over 4,100 cubic feet of medical oxygen gas to the Infectious Disease Control Center (IDC) at the Margetson ward, Holberton Hospital.