Samuels Foundation helping the blind
KINGSTON, JAMAICA - West Indies star batsman Marlon Samuels, who is recovering from a serious right eye injury, has pledged his support to the blind and visually impaired following his foundation's donation of $50,000 to the Salvation Army School on Wednesday.
Samuels, who suffered the injury while playing for Melbourne Renegades in the Australian Big Bash Twenty20 tournament earlier this year, has come to the aid of five children at the Salvation Army School for the Blind and Visually Impaired after going through his traumatic experience.
"Well the urge for this is definitely two weeks of closing my left eye and couldn't see anything out of my right eye. It was total darkness, so I can imagine what they are going through for their entire life being like that," said Samuels.
He continued: "So I wanted to do something right away and I will continue to do what I have done today. I know what it feels like in their shoes for two weeks."
Samuels, who recently formed his foundation, handed over a cheque of $50,000 to the school that will assist five students with their examinations.
"This was never a part of the foundation. The foundation was to help kids in school to pay their school fees and if they want to play sports, I would give them equipment. But they would have to keep up their grades and stuff like that," he noted.
"I had the accident so right away I wanted to come and make this a part of the foundation as well. I am sending five kids to do CXC and I am paying for four subjects for each of them. I am giving them the opportunity to further their education," he added.
Esmie Taylor, vice principal of the Salvation Army School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, was appreciative of Samuels' gesture.
"What he has done for us I am very elated and very happy because some of our students are having difficulty from time to time," said Taylor.
"Some of our students are integrated in regular high schools and we work with them here to the level they can achieve. What Mr Samuels has done is very appreciated because five students will benefit from this and further their education," she pointed out.
Meanwhile, Ramoi Gayle, a student and lover of cricket, was just delighted to meet Samuels and he was very appreciative of the cricketer's donation.
"I have listened to cricket all these years and I enjoy when he is making runs, especially when he made that double century in Bangladesh. I am very happy with Marlon Samuels and I would like to meet Chris Gayle," said the youngster.
Another student, Shamarie Watson, also praised Samuels, noting that he has made her school proud.
Samuels, who had to stay put in his hotel room with swelling and bruising around his eye after edging a ball from Lasith Malinga through the grill of his helmet, acknowledged that there are bigger problems at the school.
"There is a bigger issue that they wanted some Braille machines, but we couldn't get it right away because you have to ship it to Jamaica. But with time I will be looking towards getting some of those machines for them," he said confidently.
Samuels, 31, who seemed to have mellowed with age like any French wine, will miss the important West Indies tour of Australia.
"I couldn't see anything for two weeks. Right now I am doing very well, it's looking good again. I am not having any problems, is just for it to heal itself and stuff like that," he pointed out.
"I will be back, but I can't give a time frame. I will have to be 100 per cent then you will definitely see me up and about again," said Samuels.
"I am with Puma for 11 years, so I would like to see a blind cricketer using Puma equipment now, just a lot of positive thoughts and I will be executing them and I am behind blind cricket and I will be playing a role as well," he assured.