EVERYDAY STRUGGLE Blake recalled that his humble upbringing in the deep-rural Morningside district in St Elizabeth, and his everyday struggles to attend St Elizabeth Technical High School, “propelled” him to win a relay bronze medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, and silver at the 1995 World Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden. “It’s (book) going to start a dialogue and open the eyes. To be honest, I am not trying to be a millionaire from this book, My hope is that it will reach in the hands of all high-school athletes and they will be able to take this book home and let their parents read it,” explained Blake, who says he wants to help athletes stay focused “on the rugged path to athletic prowess”. He added that, the track arena is not going to be easy for the athletes, while noting he suffered “fights” during his time on the track. “The whole idea is to motivate athletes who come from a struggling background, disenfranchised kids. Kids sidelined and losing hope, this book is going to teach them to fight that type of demon and propel themselves forward. “I’ve had the experience of making the national team and some people did not want me on the 4x400m and coaches told me I am to stay focused, and I know exactly what that meant …” he recalled. Blake is of the view that past athletes are not well appreciated in Jamaica but he considers them “trend-setters for upcoming athletes to excel towards”. Blake, who represented Jamaica at two Olympic Games, two World Championships, two World University Games, one Pan American Games and one Commonwealth Games, stressed that he feels Jamaican athletes should show more guts and courage and not take abuse. “I find that with professional athletes, they have no backbone these days … . I have had experiences where these athletes just take anything. Sports in Jamaica has gone to a point where it’s all about winning, and athletes have suffered for the sport that they love, and the book is going to talk about some of the challenges that I have faced and correlate it with some of the challenges that other athletes have and will face over the years,” stressed Blake. Retired Olympian, Dennis Blake says he is hoping to use his book, Dennis Blake’s Memoir: An Olympian’s Hidden Secrets, to help young athletes, their parents, coaches and stakeholders of track and field to “knock out fear, overcome challenges and achieve their goals”. Blake, 45, describes himself as a coach, does consultation and gives motivational speeches to students, athletes and professionals seeking to reach the highest levels in sport. “This book opens an important conversation for anyone who is struggling to make a difference in their lives and to fulfil their personal goals,” he said. “Readers will be inspired by the indelible stories which will also shed light on the significant challenges faced by athletes when competing at the elite level,” Blake told The Gleaner in an interview. His book will be published in two parts, the first of which is scheduled to hit the shelves in summer in the United States and will be sold for US$14.95. “My hope and dream for this book is for it to be read by all athletes. It is mostly geared towards those disenfranchised athletes, those athletes who have goals and feel like they can’t make it or they don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel,” added Blake, who is now based in the United States.
Charlie McConalogue TD says patients in Donegal are facing delayed diagnoses and poorer patient outcomes as a result of ever increasing waiting lists at Letterkenny General Hospital.Letterkenny General HospitalThe latest figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund reveal that there were 16,221 on outpatient waiting lists at Letterkenny General Hospital in April. More than 5,500 of those have been waiting over a year to see a consultant.That’s a year on year increase of 328.5% Deputy McConalogue commented, “The continuing escalation of waiting list numbers at Letterkenny General Hospital is nothing short of alarming. The Health Minister’s complete inaction on this crisis is inexcuseable. As a doctor he should be well aware of the consequences of delayed diagnosis, yet the number of people waiting more than 12 months for an outpatient appointment has rocketed over the past year. Minister Varadkar’s failure to come up with a tangible plan to deal with this growing problem is leading to increased backlogs in the system and extreme frustration and anxiety among patients.“The situation is further exacerbated in Donegal because of the refusal by the Saolta Hospital Group to provide follow-up treatment to patients who were outsourced under the 2013 Out Patients Initiative. This has led to a situation whereby hundreds of patients who had been waiting over a year for treatment were transferred to other hospitals for assessment and treatment as part of the scheme. However, because of funding shortfalls hundreds of these patients have now been amalgamated back into the public waiting lists placing additional pressure on the system.“This Government downgraded the National Treatment Purchase Fund in favour of James Reilly’s Special Delivery Units. This framework has failed patients completely and has led to these out of control waiting lists. Fianna Fáil wants to see the NTPF fully reactivated to ensure that public patients who are not treated within a reasonable timeframe are referred to private or public hospitals either here or in Northern Ireland for assessment and any follow on procedures necessary.“The current situation cannot be allowed to continue as it is. It poses serious risks for patients and creates an atmosphere of anxiety as people are forced to wait in excess of a year for an appointment. Minister Varadkar has a choice – either secure additional funding to drive down the lists or adopt Fianna Fáil’s proposals to reactivate the NTPF. This Government has spent the past few weeks telling us that the economic recovery is underway – now is the time to reinvest the additional funds in essential public services and ensure a quality health system for people in Donegal and across the country”. LETTERKENNY WAITING LIST SCANDAL CONTINUES UNABATED – McCONALOGUE was last modified: May 7th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)