British Virgin Islands

Friday, Apr 16, 2021

CrossFit, Rugby Union aim to raise $20K for rugby player to do heart surgery

CrossFit, along with the BVI Rugby Football Union (BVIRFU), is on a quest to raise $20,000 to assist National Rugby Player Kenrick Thomas to undertake lifesaving heart surgery.

Thomas, who was born in the Dominican Republic but has been residing in the territory since he was an infant, said despite having the problem since he was born, he only learnt of it early this year.

“I have a heart problem, I just know I have a hole in my heart. The doctor explained that I had it my entire life since I was born, but I never noticed it until this year when I broke my ribs at the beginning of the year in a rugby training,” he said on Sunday, November 22, 2020, during a CrossFit games and beach rugby event held at Brandywine Bay.

“I was basically recovering, and then I felt the pain, I had felt it over the time I had been training, but I always thought it was because I didn’t give my body a rest that and I was over-training, so I never really listened to it.”

Thomas further stated that when he decided to visit the doctor, he was informed that he needed to do the surgery soon.

Active member of National Rugby Squad

The 23-year-old has been part of the rugby association since he was 14 years and member of Cross Fit for the last three years.

He has represented the VI in St Vincent, St Lucia, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Mexico among other areas, he said.

According to him, he would need roughly $20,000 to cover the 20 per cent that is not covered by National Health Insurance for the surgery to be done in Puerto Rico in late January 2021.

Grateful heart

“I am really grateful for what CrossFit and the Rugby Association has done, it shows a lot. It is really sentimental; I didn’t expect so many people to come together and dedicate so much time and effort. This is deep man; I didn’t expect it; these are great people,” he added.

The BVIRFU stated on its Facebook page on November 16, 2020, that Thomas has been an integral part of the BVI Rugby Club playing in 7s and 15s for the VI.

"We are raising funds for him to be able to have surgery. He has a hole in his heart (Ventricular or Atrial Septal Defect (VSD/ASD) and surgery is needed."

More fundraisers to come

President of the BVI Rugby Football Union, Niall Brooks said the event on Sunday was one of many that the association has undertaken to assist the player.

He said another major fundraiser would be in the form of a dinner slated for December 5, 2020.


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