Local Dad Treks 100 Miles On 2nd Quest To Save Hearts
Furniture Plus and The Charity Of Hope Foundation (COHF); the company’s charity arm, have teamed up once again to give a boost of support to Ernie Blue’s 2nd annual, “100-Mile West Highland Way Walk,” scheduled for August 6th in Scotland, U.K.
This epic 7-day fundraiser expedition will take Ernie and fellow backpackers by foot over a historic, wildly beautiful and rugged path across the vast Scottish Highlands. With every mile walked, Ernie hopes to raise life-saving funds for the Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation, which will benefit children throughout The Bahamas depending on financial assistance to acquire critical surgical procedures, pacemakers, and medical treatment.
“My goal is to give children facing heart-related health issues the precious second chance my own daughter Renee was blessed to receive 8 years ago. At 6, she was unexpectedly diagnosed with a failing heart and Viral Myocarditis, as a result of a virus,” explains Ernie. “Her recovery, and years of follow up treatment were aided in large part by the generosity of the Victor Sassoon Heart Foundation. My family and I want to keep paying this kind act forward.”
Last year Ernie’s inaugural 100-mile walk raised $34,000 in sponsorship for the foundation. This year, he hopes to once again garner support from the public and Corporate Bahamas to save more young lives.
With the expedition just a few weeks away, the Management and Staff of Furniture Plus, where Ernie is employed, are again rallying behind him. The company will use its resources and manpower to publicize the campaign and help organize the fundraising efforts. The Charity of Hope Foundation, (COHF) will also make a financial donation to Ernie’s heart-inspired cause.
“We at Furniture Plus and COHF are overjoyed at the enormous success Ernie has had in championing this cause. It’s an honor to be the first to jump on board and support this vital work and the philanthropy of one of our own. Ernie is to be commended for his dedication and commitment. We join him in saluting the tireless and incredible work of the Sir Victor Sassoon Heart Foundation,” says Krystynia Lee D’Arville, V.P. of Sales, Marketing and Organizational Development at Furniture Plus.
Tayshawn Barr is currently experiencing a new lease on life, thanks to financial support from the (Bahamas) Heart Foundation, and the public’s support of annual fundraising efforts, like Ernie’s.
Baby Tayshawn was diagnosed at birth with Down Syndrome and had a large hole in his heart. To survive he would need heart surgery, between the third and fifth month of his life, estimated at a cost of $75,000. This crushing news seemed insurmountable to Tayshawn’s young parents, Darrinika and Tashawn who were referred to the (Bahamas) Heart Foundation for help. Just a few months later in October 2017, Tayshawn’s fragile heart was successfully rebuilt at the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Miami. This year Tayshawn celebrated his first birthday with his family; a major milestone, thanks to the foundation.
Stories similar to Tayshawn’s and Renee’s are not uncommon. For over 56 years, the (Bahamas) Heart Foundation has been rewriting these stories with happy endings; saving lives, mending hearts and restoring families. To continue this work they rely heavily on the generosity of the public, and private donors.
This year’s 100-Mile Walk will have a special, sentimental twist. Ernie will be joined by two of the people who inspired it all; his daughter Renee, now 14, and the physician credited with saving her life, Dr. Jerome Lightbourne. Dr. Lightbourne, one of the country’s preeminent Pediatric Cardiologists was on duty that fateful night when Renee was rushed to Accident and Emergency. He has attended to her over the course of her long recovery.
Together, the trio will navigate the challenging 100-mile trek through the rich green rolling valleys, and pastoral landscapes; past lush forests, striking moors and the serene beauty of Loch Lomond. They’ll journey onto the increasingly rugged and majestic mountain passes of the Scottish Highlands, walking by day and spending their nights at traveler’s campsites, quaint local inns, and hostels en route to the final stop at Fort William. Their courageous journey will be the perfect testimony to the many battles won, and victories yet ahead for each of them, and the many brave hearts they represent.
Persons wishing to follow Ernie’s 100-Mile Highlands Walk in real time with photos and updates can visit the Facebook page: 100 Mile WHW Walk. Those wishing to make donations can do so either by visiting Furniture Plus (Nassau or Grand Bahama) and making cheques payable to Furniture Plus, Re: 100 Mile Walk. Cheques can also be dropped off to the offices of the Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation. 100% of all donations will be consolidated and given to the foundation to provide the gift of life for children with heart-related health issues.
Photo 1: L to R-
Ernie Blues, Darrinika Barr (Mother) with Baby Tayshawn Barr, Tashawn Bar (Father).
Photo 2: L to R-
Ernie Blues, & Renee Blues (Daughter)
ABOUT: Furniture Plus is The Bahamas’ leading Furniture Store Chain with over 30 years of experience serving customers throughout The Archipelago of islands. Furniture Plus carries the country’s widest selection of furniture, appliances, electronics, home accessories, entertainment devices, and more. The company is the exclusive factory distributor for Ashley Furniture, and Kenmore Appliances – America’s #1 Appliance Brand. Furniture Plus’s payment options include; cash, credit card, and in-house financing. Our company strives to provide Bahamians and residents of every walk of life, with the distinct opportunity and pleasure of creating the beautiful home they desire while consistently providing a satisfaction guaranteed, customer centric shopping experience, second to none. Visit our showroom Mon.-Sat. 9am to 9pm.