To most of us, he’s Shaggy, Mr Boombastic, the international reggae star. But behind the charming, playful persona, he’s also Orville Burrell, the amazing guy who’s changing the lives of thousands of people in his home country of Jamaica.
His most recent mission? To raise some big bucks for Bustamante Children’s Hospital, the only specialist hospital for kids in the English-speaking Carribean. And he did. Over 100 million Jamaican dollars in fact (just under US$800 thousand), by organising a “Shaggy and Friends Benefit Concert” on the lawns of Jamaica House with big names like Sting and Wyclef Jean.
The hospital will use the money to upgrade and expand their Intensive Care Unit. At the moment, they only have room for 5 beds in there and with approximately 150 patients admitted each year, they’re struggling to keep up with demand.
Not only does Shaggy’s fundraising help thousands of local children who will have access to better hospital care, but it’s also taking a huge weight off the shoulders of the Jamaican government which funds the hospital.
“I always say that Bustamante is like a bucket with a hole, “ Shaggy explains after signing the whopping cheque.“No matter what, the bucket will never be filled, but if we can help the leakage to be less, I am at a start.”
This isn’t the first time Shaggy has helped out the hospital. In the early 2000s, a few years after his single Mr Boombastic made it big around the world, he bought new medical equipment. Things like ventilators and sterilising machines, which the hospital didn’t have. He also helped financially with repairs of the hospital’s Administrative Block and the creation of an outdoor play area.
And in 2009, Shaggy saw first-hand what a difference he was actually making. While walking through the hospital one day, he met a dad whose daughter, Apple, had been shot and was in ICU. He went to see Apple and discovered she was still alive, thanks to THE ventilator he had bought 8 years earlier.
It was this moment that inspired the entertainer to start Shaggy’s Make A Difference Foundation and hold benefit concerts every two years. To date, his concerts have raised approximately US$3 million and bought over 450 pieces of vital medical equipment and machinery.
Yep – Mr Boombastic, really is, simply fantastic.
If you’d like to show the original Mr Lover Lover some love by supporting his organisation, you can do so HERE.