National distance record-holder Kemoy Campbell said he was grateful to the Jamaica government for settling the balance of outstanding medical bills, after a life-threatening heart ailment.
The 29-year-old had to be fitted with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator and later with a pacemaker one year after he collapsed following a men’s 3,000 metres race at the Millrose Games on February 9 last year in New York.
According to a statement from the Jamaica Ministry of Sport, the Jamaica Athletes Insurance Plan paid US $31,677 towards the settlement of Campbell’s medical bill and the track star paid an amount through his personal insurance, leaving a balance of US $71,000, which the government cleared.
“My family and I would like to sincerely thank (Sport) Minister (Olivia) Grange for helping me with my medical bills,” Campbell said.
“After my second incident in March 2020, the minister reached out to me and told me that I shouldn’t worry about the bills, as she was willing to help me pay for my medical expenses following my surgery.”
He said: “This meant so much to me because my hospital stay and surgery were very expensive.
“Knowing that the minister and Jamaica were there for me during this tough time helped me get through the months following. I really appreciate everything that the minister and Jamaica have done for me and will always be grateful.”
Grange said the government felt duty-bound to assist Campbell in his time of need.
“He has performed well for Jamaica and in fact, as we know, he fell ill on the track,” she said.
“And so, the least we could do to show appreciation and gratitude to him was to assist in his time of need.”
Grange also used the opportunity to encourage other athletes to sign up for the Jamaica Athletes’ Insurance Plan, a national health insurance and retirement benefits plan to provide basic health coverage for all qualified national athletes who represent Jamaica or have attained the specified professional level in their sporting disciplines.
“I am happy that through the JAIP and the Sports Development Foundation we were able to give Kemoy the level of assistance that concluded the settlement of his medical bills and that he is doing well,” she said.
“I continue to encourage athletes to sign up for the JAIP and maintain contact with the Sport Division of the Ministry to ensure that their health and welfare matters are in order.”