Craigy T throws sup­port be­hind ‘Pledge With Your Heart’ cam­paign

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT - Kim­ber­ley Small Gleaner Writer en­ter­tain­ment@ glean­erjm.com en­ter­tain­ment@glean­erjm.com

LIFE AS a tour­ing mu­si­cian ap­pears glam­orous and comes with a busy­ness that is unique to the cel­e­brated. It is usu­ally when forced to slow down that they be­gin to no­tice things as they are.

Craigy T, for­merly of in­ter­na­tional reg­gae/dance­hall group T.O.K., came to a sim­i­lar re­al­i­sa­tion that he was not as healthy as he be­lieved. Af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with a de­fec­tive heart, the artiste un­der­went a ma­jor life­style change, los­ing over 100 pounds in the process.

Last Thurs­day, the lawns across from the Med­i­cal Cen­tre of the Univer­sity of the West Indies, Mona, dou­bled as a heart-health clinic in recog­ni­tion of World Heart Day.

TVJ, Guardian Life and the Depart­ment of Car­di­ol­ogy, UWI, along­side DLT Mar­comms Limited, have col­lab­o­rated un­der the Pledge With Your Heart cam­paign, with in­tent to raise eight mil­lion dol­lars for the pur­chase of a new echocar­dio­gram ma­chine, the same ma­chine that prompted Craigy T to make a change that po­ten­tially saved his life.

“It was a flu that I had in Ja­pan ... I went to the doc­tor and they said that you know, my heart was beat­ing ir­reg­u­larly and I should check it out when I reach home,” Craigy T told The Gleaner.

By the time he ar­rived in Ja­maica, the flu had run its course and he saw no need to visit the doc­tor.

“I put it off three years af­ter that. I didn’t do any­thing. I didn’t know any­thing se­ri­ous could have been happening,” he said.

While on his way to the gym, in­stinct, serendip­ity, or maybe an ex­tremely lengthy de­layed re­ac­tion, al­tered Craigy T’s des­ti­na­tion to the Heart Foun­da­tion, where he did an im­promptu echocar­dio­gram, “be­cause it was in­ex­pen­sive at the time”.

TAKEN STEPS

Ac­cord­ing to the artiste, his re­sults showed that he should have been on his way to the doc­tor in­stead of on his way to the gym.

“I was di­ag­nosed with left ven­tric­u­lar hy­per­tro­phy. That’s when the left side of your heart is en­larged. That’s the part that’s re­spon­si­ble for the pump,” he said.

He re­vealed that his con­di­tion was caused by hy­per­ten­sion, “which was caused by my weight. So ever since then, I’ve taken steps to nat­u­rally re­verse my weight gain.”

In 2010, soon af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed, Craigy T started the Guardian An­gel Foun­da­tion, “fo­cused on how to re­verse the symp­toms of hy­per­ten­sion, so to speak; us­ing small day-to-day steps, (chang­ing) your life­style”.

Since mak­ing the de­ci­sion to change, Craigy T has lost 124 pounds.

“I’ve been off med­i­ca­tion for about six years and my heart is beat­ing fine,” he told The Gleaner.

“Some peo­ple are afraid of chang­ing their life­style,” he con­tin­ued, ex­plain­ing that it may not have to be as dif­fi­cult as train­ing for five-mile runs.

Some­thing as sim­ple as gar­den­ing ev­ery day, some­thing as sim­ple as bussin’ a sweat, do­ing the heavy lift­ing, park­ing far­ther away from the en­trances, stuff like that,” he told The Gleaner.

“When I see peo­ple do­ing things, like hav­ing ECGs made char­ac­ters, he takes his per­se­cu­tors into the chival­ric world of his most famous, Don Quixote de La Man­cha and his side-kick, San­cho Panza.

As the story un­folds, the time­less­ness in Cer­vantes’ work be­came ev­i­dent. Through the in­sane Don Quixote, Cer­vantes in­di­rectly framed the ques­tion who de­ter­mines what re­al­ity is. While La Mair, through fine singing by Sa­man­tha Thomas, con­cludes that it is al­right to “dream the im­pos­si­ble dream”.

MORE THAN A READ­ING

Em­brac­ing their com­pelling and hu­mour-filled lines, the tal­ented cast in­deed gave more than a read­ing. They lifted their char­ac­ters from the pages of their script, with depth and thought­ful­ness. Each was mind­ful of the im­por­tance of his/her role de­spite hav­ing to de­liver lines avail­able for free, nat­u­rally, I would want to be a part of it. Any time I see ini­tia­tives like this (the Pledge With Your Heart Cam­paign), I’m here to help,” he told The Gleaner.

“They’re try­ing to raise $8 mil­lion to pur­chase an echocar­dio­gram ma­chine, which I be­lieve is very im­por­tant, es­pe­cially for the UWI car­di­ol­ogy unit. It can’t be op­er­at­ing with­out one of those ma­chines, so I am im­plor­ing peo­ple to pledge with their hearts. Make a do­na­tion to the Pledge Your Heart Cam­paign through JMMB A/C 2958004,” he im­plored. A lively bar scene. from scripts in hands.

Their ar­tic­u­la­tion was of a high stan­dard, too, es­pe­cially as they had to swim up­stream against com­pet­ing tide of back­ground chat­ter from din­ers. Their quick, yet timely ap­proach to get­ting in and out of cos­tumes for their re­spec­tive roles, was also im­pres­sive.

The di­rec­tor must be con­grat­u­lated. La Mair’s di­rect­ing showed signs of bril­liance. He shifted the ac­tions from the jail, the desert of La Man­cha, the home of Don Quixote, to the bar and the bed­room of an inn with great in­sight, de­spite the sim­plis­tic na­ture of the set – a small num­ber of drama boxes of dif­fer­ent sizes.

There was also an odd, large trunk of var­i­ous props and bars at­tached to one of the boxes to sym­bol­ise the jail. La Mair’s move­ment of each ac­tor was well thought out, too. It was also ob­vi­ous that he paid at­ten­tion to de­tail in his cast­ing of roles, and his well-de­fined en­trances and ex­its.

The cast’s stel­lar per­for­mance was fol­lowed by what Rives called a de­bate.

The au­di­ence show­ered the cast and di­rec­tor seated around the perime­ter of the stage with com­pli­ments and ques­tions. Some thought the read­ing brought clar­ity to a work that they had strug­gled to com­pre­hend as high-school stu­dents. But for the younger mem­bers of the cast, their en­counter with Cer­vantes and his work came about with the in­vi­ta­tion to par­tic­i­pate in the pro­ject.

In her clos­ing re­marks, Rives added that her dream now was to take the play to pris­ons.

PHOTO BY MAR­CIA ROWE

Craigy T

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