Variety’s destiny began on the evening of December 24, 1928, when the manager of the Sheridan Square Theatre in Pittsburgh found an infant abandoned in the theatre with a note saying:
“Please take care of my baby. Her name is Catherine. I can no longer take care of her. I have eight others. My husband is out of work. She was born on Thanksgiving Day. I have always heard of the goodness of show business and I pray to God that you will look out for her.” A Heart-Broken Mother. It was not long before the Variety Club decided to raise funds for other disadvantaged children, the club’s first fundraising event was held under a circus big top, which is why the circus vernacular is used worldwide within the club structure to this day.
In 1991 Dr. Richard Ishmael, Cardiologist with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), had a dream to establish a five-bed Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) to provide intensive focused care to monitor and treat the most serious conditions of children in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.
Out of this initial dream and the consuming passion that drove Dr. Ishmael, Michael Pemberton and a dedicated founding group of “Barkers”, the Barbados chapter of Variety- Tent 73 – was born. The group worked assiduously to raise the necessary $200,000 to start a Variety chapter. After two years of fundraising, a registered charity was formed in 1994, eventually receiving its charter from Variety International in April, 1995. On Tuesday September 16th, 1997, Dr. Ishmael’s dream came to fruition. Variety – Tent 73 was instrumental in funding the majority of equipment for a new four-bed PICU within the Paediatric Unit of the QEH. Now equiped with the only PICU in the region, the QEH could handle emergency admissions for young patients requiring various levels of life support and care for immediate post-operative open heart surgical patients, orthopaedic and neurological patients from Barbados and other Caribbean countries. Over the past 9 years the Unit has helped more than 1,000 children receive life-saving procedures. Variety continues its relationship with the PICU, and has now spearheaded a $1million dollar project aimed at the refurbishment and expansion of the Unit.
A bit about Variety:
Variety The Children’s Charity’s mission is to help the sick, needy and disadvantaged children of Barbados and The Eastern Caribbean to reach their full potential. Its purpose is to raise funds to positively impact on the quality of children’s lives.
Members of the public who require assistance with sick or disabled children may appeal to us for consideration. Not all appeals will be accepted but our Appeals Committee promises to thoroughly investigate each appeal and to help wherever possible either directly or by referrals where applicable.