Lupus Awareness Day 2019



In recognition of World Lupus Day 2019, NKRC had a little chat with our club member Francine White. One of our longest serving members who has been with the club for 5 years and is currently living fabulously with Lupus!

  1. What is the official name of your diagnosis?

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease. In this disease, the immune system of the body mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. It can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, brain, and other organs.

  1. When were you diagnosed?

Suspected: 2013

Fully diagnosed: 2014

  1. What were your symptoms that led to your diagnosis?

Over the years before diagnosis, I was always presented with different symptoms for which they (Doctors) couldn’t find a definite cause. Symptoms such as pain all over my body, depression, uncontrollable anxiety, exhaustion, etc.

  1. How did you feel when you were diagnosed?

 I felt a mixture of happiness and sadness. Happy because I wasn’t crazy (I was back and forth to the doctor from I was in high school) and sad because I was actually sick.

  1. What has been your major challenge? 

 Asking for help when I need it and having to disappoint people sometimes. It is a very draining condition and it sucks all your energy to function on a day to day basis sometimes. One moment you are ok and the next moment you are genuinely not, so when you make plans you might have to disappoint people at times.

  1. How do you cope and manage with your diagnosis? 

 I manage my diagnosis by taking prescribed medications on a day to day basis and I cope by seeing where I want to be and knowing that I am not there yet and also knowing that this is just one aspect of my life and even though sometimes I have to take a step back to regroup, that is what I will do.

  1. You have been an exemplary Rotaractor and member of NKRC, how did you manage this with your diagnosis?

I don’t know how to explain how. At the time when I started coming to NKRC, I was just dealing with fully learning what it was that has been affecting me for so long and how it will affect me going forward.

I decided not to let it define me and so service is where I put my focus. By doing this I got to see that everyone is dealing with something and we all got to push through. Also, when you dedicate yourself to a cause you realize that for that time you forget your struggles by focusing on other persons and Rotaract gives me that moment all the time.


  1. What would you like for persons and groups like Rotaract to do more?

Lupus is not one of those “sexy” conditions that is given much attention even in this Rotary/Rotaract circle. There is a foundation here in Jamaica that does a lot of work when it comes to spreading information and fighting for benefits for persons with Lupus. It is a very costly condition. The foundation always needs more help. So support the foundation some more. One good thing of late is that Government of Jamaica (GoJ) has finally added it to the NHF list of conditions so persons will be abler to access medications, but a lot more is still left to get done.

  1. What’s your message to other persons living with Lupus?

Live your life to the fullest (whatever that means to you) and don’t let Lupus define your life.

Fran 2

Christmas Dinner 2018, The Masquerade: ‘A Night In The Hills’

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It was said by W.J. Tucker that “Christmas means fellowshipfeastinggiving and receiving, a time of good cheer, home”. To share in the ‘magic’ of the holiday season, the Rotaract Club of New Kingston, through its Club Service Committee, hosted its annual Christmas Dinner on December 16, themed “The Masquerade: A Night in the Hills.” Rotaractors, Rotarians, Prospective Members and Friends of Rotary gathered in their ‘black tie’ and masks attire on the beautifully decorated gardens of Rtn Mitch Stephenson’s home, to celebrate family, togetherness & commitment.

The evening began with the sultry singing of our Master of Ceremony Vice President Latoya Smith who brought the evening to a start with the tune O’ Holy Night. She led the gathering into an ice-breaker activity that saw us forming into groups to prepare and deliver a medley of Christmas songs to the delight of our fellow participants. This activity was a clear indication that NKRC has really got talent!

President Vanessa Williams then brought greetings and welcomed everyone officially to the Christmas dinner. She spoke briefly on the wonderful and impactful work that NKRC has been doing and expressed how immensely proud she was of the club that has continued to serve with passion and zeal despite our many challenges.

The award ceremony for our infamous ‘Vibe Awards’ followed. After a week of voting, quite a number of members received certificates having copped the majority of votes in the respective categories. Congratulations were extended to our ‘Fashionistas’, ‘Denzel Washingtons’, ‘Sunbeam & Moonlighter’, ‘Dapper Dan’, ‘Sole Snatcher’ & ‘Sock-o-holic’, ‘Ever-stressed’, to name a few.


We were serenaded throughout the night by the soulful sounds of Rtrs. Kimberly Sommerville and Samuel McDermott as well as Dir. Sandrika Dunkley through their renditions of a few popular Christmas songs. We were also entertained by Sec. Melzetta Smith with her stellar sign language performance.

The Christmas dinner would not have been complete without one of the most important activities for the season; the exchange of Gifts! After several weeks of secret treats and mysteries, all Pixies aka Secret Santas were revealed! Rotaractors and friends exchanged their brightest smiles and warmest hugs as they received or handed over gifts. In the spirit of gift giving, PP Mitch Stephenson received branded wine glasses as small tokens of appreciation from President Vanessa for his warm-hearted assistance in catering to the club.

To top it all off, all attendees received NKRC 2019 Calendars from the Club Service Committee, and President Vanessa revealed to the family of NKRC, the official club website that has been ably created by Rtr Nickquane! The website can be accessed at for all to keep up with all things NKRC and to check out our featured sponsors.

Special thanks for the evening extended to the following persons for their immeasurable contributions: Rtn Mitch- Venue & set-up; Rtr. Nick Morris- Music; Rtr. Nickquane-

President Ryan’s August Message


The month of August is very significant to all Rotaractors as we focus on one of the keys areas of success for any Rotaract club and that is membership. Next to the eradication of Polio, Rotary’s has placed membership as the next important focus this year.  RI International President Gary Huang in his presidential message for August reminds us that “There is a good reason why we remind ourselves of the importance of membership early in every Rotary year: because the job of growing our membership is one that we can never begin too soon. It is also a job that we can never stop working on. In order to keep serving, Rotary always needs to be growing!”

Membership has and will always be very important to NKRC. Keen to our focus this month and also for the year will be the growth and engagement of our membership. While it is important to attract prospective members to the club, it is even more important to attract the right kind of persons to the club. Quality over Quantity has always been a focus of NKRC and this mantra has served us well throughout our existence. As we put our focus on growth, our eyes should always be attuned to Prospective Members who can truly appreciate what it means to be a member of this family.

This month’s focus will also be about engaging our membership. Our club has been extremely blessed when it comes to the great talents & skills of its membership over the years. Our plans for this month include varying initiatives that will seek to engage both prospective and current members. It is my hope that we all (prospective & members alike) engage each other as we allow ourselves to be engaged by the great rewards Rotaract has to offer.

Rotaract’s motto is FELLOWSHIP THROUGH SERVICE. NKRC has lived this motto over the years and have gone on to establish our brand through our strong fellowship and impactful service. It is this, coupled with our sense of family that truly makes NKRC the top brand we are. The club stands committed to maintaining these core values as we seek to attract and engage the current and future membership of our great NKRC.




Ryan McKenzie

President – Rotaract Club of New Kingston