A 17-member squad from Team Hope (How Ordinary People do Extraordinary things) will travel to Barbados today to compete in the Barbados Triathlon on Sunday.
The group started as a biennial fundraiser which piggybacked off the Rainbow Cup triathlon to raise awareness for people with disabilities and occupational therapy.
Since participating at this year's Rainbow Cup, Team Hope has evolved and has represented well at the T&T triathlon with several of them medaling in their various age groups.
According to a release from Team Hope, the trip is not about just competing.
While in Barbados, Hopees will have the opportunity to visit the Department of Rehabilitation at Queen Elizabeth Hospital to see, first hand, how an Occupational Therapy Unit operates and how citizens benefit from having access to these services in a public hospital.
At least ten per cent of the population has a disability, therefore there are approximately 150,000 people in T&T living with a disability that could be remediated, reduced or rehabilitated by these therapies and services.
Many of these individuals are unable to access treatment due to a lack of awareness of the disciplines, lack of accessibility to therapists in public domains, financial difficulties or availability of other resources. Having access to occupational therapy services would allow such individuals to maximize their function, lead personally satisfying lives and participate meaningfully in society.
Team Hope is a unique community-based fundraising and advocacy programme of the T&T Occupational Therapy Association (T&TOTA). It is used to raise public awareness for persons with disabilities and also to highlight the need for occupational therapy services in this country.
It is the belief that persons have a right to full participation in community life despite mental or physical health status or disability. OTs are health professionals who help such people across the lifespan to participate in the tasks they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations).
Unfortunately, there are only 8 registered and practicing OTs in all of T&T with 1 working in a public hospital. There is a growing and desperate need to improve healthcare services for all.
This will be Team Hope's first involvement in a triathlon outside of T&T and this experience will also deepen the Hopee's understanding of occupational therapy and will ultimately make them better ambassadors when they return to T&T.
Team Hope has been fortunate to have onboard Gold sponsor, Atlantic, Silver sponsor, Ask Leadership Foundation and Bronze Sponsor, Dannon.
Team: Priya Gomes, Derek Daniel, Aliya Drakes, Keisha Lindsay, Raoul Edwards, Nigel Wall, Nicola De Pass, Samantha Montserin, Briony Baden-Semper, Kiyomi Rankin, Alistair Beadle, Seldette Johnetty, Arlene Hamblin, Georgina Terry, Martin Lewis.
Officials: Adrian Don Mora, Helen Drakes, Lark Ambris.