BVI News

National rugby player in need of heart surgery

Kenrick ‘Jimmy’ Thomas in action with the ball in hand while representing the BVI’s national Rugby team. (Photo provided)

The British Virgin Islands Rugby Football Union (RFU) has collaborated with Castaway CrossFit to host a fundraiser event aimed at raising $15,000 for a local national rugby player who is in urgent need of heart surgery.

Kenrick ‘Jimmy’ Thomas who is a former student of the Elmore Stoutt High School recently received a medical diagnosis that he has a hole in the septum between his heart’s lower or upper chambers. This is called a Ventricular or Atrial Septal Defect.

Speaking to BVI News in a recent interview, Head Coach of the Rugby Football Union James Vaughan Turner said approximately $10,000 has already been raised, but he is calling on residents to continue supporting the cause to ensure Thomas receives his surgery which must be conducted off-island.

“Jimmy has a great number of friends and we are all trying our best to assist him. The BVI’s NHI will cover part of his medical costs but not all. He needs to raise between $15,000 to $20,000 in order to cover the costs of the operation. He is planning on having the operation in Puerto Rico,” Coach Turner said.

He added: “Jimmy is in good spirits, he has been raising money for his operation. Being unable to continue any training or sport has had a doubly negative impact for Jimmy. Coupled with having to learn of, and deal with his condition during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been very difficult for him but his motivation to succeed has helped him to push forward and strive forward.”

Teammates remain positive

Coach Turner said the news of Thomas’ diagnosis had his teammates initially concerned, but said their brotherhood mentality has helped to keep the entire team positive during this period.

“Jimmy is an important member of the team and when his team mates heard the news of his condition, they were shocked and concerned for his health. In rugby we have values and a culture and when one of our players is in need, we all come together to help each other out. Rugby is very special, it brings people together from all different cultures and backgrounds as one big family,” he explained.

Thomas is a gifted talent

The head coach further pointed to the many achievements of the 23-year-old Thomas, who has been successful during his tenure representing the national team.

“He has represented the BVI national rugby teams on numerous occasions in 7s and 15s rugby and has literally bled for the BVI in certain games, including losing a piece of his ear whilst playing for the BVI National Men’s 15’s rugby team against Barbados,” the coach stated.

“He has won several awards in rugby, such as the most valuable player for the under 19 tournaments in 2014 in Trinidad and the most improved player twice in 2017 and 2019. He captained his secondary school in a two-year undefeated streak. Jimmy has also been a very keen practitioner of Castaway CrossFit in the BVI,” he added.

Beach Rugby Fundraiser event

The fundraiser which is slated for the Brandywine Bay beach will consist of three categories of events of beach rugby which will all have teams of six players each. 

These will include Senior Men’s Tackle with an entry fee of $200 per squad, Under-18 Men’s Tackle with an entry fee of $100, and Mixed Touch Rugby with an entry fee of $200.

The event will run from 9 am to 5 pm on Sunday November 22.

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7 Comments

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  1. Local girl says:

    He cannot be that serious if he is planning on having the surgery done in Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans don’t even take their dogs to the local vets there, much less a person with heart problems.
    The things that makes you go, hmmm.

    Dislike 34
    • Wellwisher says:

      What a load of rubbish. Puerto Rico has one of the finest heart specialist hospitals in the Americas which is where Jimmy is going.

      Like 11
    • Facts says:

      PR have very good Dr. and your not being sensitive at all so if you have nothing uplifting to say just don’t and am speaking from experience as a person who just recovering from heart surgery respect his concerns condition and his family and all those who are help if you are not doing anything.

  2. Rubber Duck says:

    Why is he not being treated under NHI?

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
    • @rubber duck says:

      Why don’t you read the article before posting. He is having open heart surgery. NHI are covering most of it, but his co-pay amount is still $15,000 – $20,000.

  3. Troglodyte Killer says:

    You all better get friends like JIMMY has.

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