#FloridaStrong in the #904: JAX HAS RELIEF HELPERS

Doctors Loren & Mark Clayman


As Jacksonville struggles to right itself after a dust-up with Hurricane Irma, the Third Coast and the island of Puerto Rico are still face down in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Maria. The devastating storms downed trees and power lines, peeled back roofs like tin cans and washed away lifetimes of memories in the polluted flood waters. Residents emerged shaken, with nothing left to do but wait for help to arrive.

Volunteers throughout the First Coast city quickly mobilized, organizing donation sites and preparing to transport much-needed supplies into the storm-ravaged regions. Our mayor has asked the community for support, and many have heeded the call, both with items and with money. We can’t specifically applaud every hometown helper because there are too many of you, but here are a few we want to acknowledge, as well as some ideas for how you can continue to help.

The Law Firm of Pajcic & Pajcic stepped up to support hurricane relief efforts with a $150,000 donation to the Jaguars Foundation, along with Shad Khan’s $1 million donation.

Thank you to the hundreds of good people who came to the Jacksonville Landing to donate items to be transported to Puerto Rico by Aqua Gulf.

Dr. Loren Clayman, Medical Director of Dr. Clayman’s Plastic Surgery Center and Miracle Spa in Jacksonville, was among the first in the community to spring into action, collecting disaster relief supplies with the help of his son, Dr. Mark Clayman for victims of Hurricane Irma in Florida and those affected by Hurricane Harvey. This isn’t the first time the Claymans have responded following a natural disaster. In fact, they have an extensive record of philanthropic acts and compassionate outreach, which our online story delves into more thoroughly.

The Sound of Music and the FSCJ Artist Series have teamed up to help. Since September 25, $5 donations have been being made to Community Foundation’s First Coast Hurricane Relief Fund for each ticket sold to The Sound of Music. This continues through November 5. If helping people is one of your favorite things, catch this classic show!

The Memorial Park Association announced the launch of a recovery fund in response to damage caused by Hurricane Irma. Storm surge from Hurricane Irma brought several feet of water from the St. Johns River into Memorial Park, which caused significant damage to the park’s lawn, benches and historic balustrade. The flooding did not damage the park’s most iconic feature: the “Spiritualized Life” statue. The image of waves surrounding “Life” became an instant symbol of Jacksonville’s resilience in news outlets ranging from The Florida Times-Union to The New York Times. Donations may be made online at memparkjax.org/donate.

Sleiman Enterprises has partnered with the Jax Food Truck Food Court to host a food truck and donation rally full of family fun on Saturday, October 7 from 11am–4pm at the Academy Sports and Outdoors shopping center on Atlantic and Kernan Boulevard. “After the community came together last weekend to bring donations to The Landing, we felt as if we could do more. We are working closely with the Puerto Rican and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to collect items that are needed to assist in the relief process. We ask our Jacksonville community to donate what they can,” said Toney Sleiman, CEO of Sleiman Enterprises and Eli Sleiman Junior, Vice of President of Sleiman Enterprises. See the complete list of donations requested and food trucks on Jax Food Truck Food Court Facebook Event Page. For more information and volunteer opportunities, email [email protected].

Humans were not the only ones to suffer because of the storm. The Wildlife Rescue Coalition of Northeast Florida, Inc. was inundated with injured and orphaned wildlife and more requests than they could handle to rescue more. Attend the A Wild Night for Wildlife Costume Party October 13 at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens to help replenish their coffers and ensure a robust response next time. Please visit www.wildlifecoalition.com for more info.

In addition to all the good work happening at home, there are national relief efforts as well. To donate to relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, UNICEF USA is mobilizing Emergency Relief Kits to get immediate, critical support to the children of Puerto Rico. A donation of just $28 will provide a kit containing basic, essential supplies such as water purification tablets, a water bucket with lid, water containers, soap, toothpaste, detergent and sanitary pads. The supplies will help children and their families keep clean and healthy, protecting them from diseases that can occur after the loss of equipment and infrastructure and the disruption of a safe water supply. Options are available to donate financially to victims of Irma and Harvey as well (www.unicefusa.org/mission/emergencies/hurricanes).

The American Red Cross accepts financial contributions to provide aid to communities affected by the hurricanes. Visit www.redcross.org and select the donation amount and the disaster location. All donations are tax deductible.

The power of nature is awe-inspiring, but so is our power as a community.

A History of Compassion

Dr. Clayman has an established history of compassionate outreach efforts. As a plastic surgeon with expertise in breast and post-cancer reconstructive surgery, he often performs pro bono skin cancer surgery to veterans, provides discounted surgical procedures for patients facing financial difficulty and offers free reconstructive breast surgery for patients unable to receive care elsewhere.

He is passionate supporter of cancer awareness and sponsors an annual team for the Cancer Foundation of the Florida Keys for the Keys 100 Ultra Marathon to assist in raising awareness and funds for cancer research. He contributes financial support and volunteers as the team physician throughout the grueling 100-mile race.

Dr. Clayman’s Plastic Surgery Center and Miracle Spa will also sponsor the 2017 Jacksonville Flounder Pounder Tournament to benefit The Jacksonville School for Autism, a non-profit school for autistic children. The practice will also sponsor the upcoming Santa Fun Run in December to raise funds and awareness for The National Blood Clot Alliance and their “Stop the Clot, Spread the Word” campaign.

The National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA) is a non-profit, patient lead, voluntary health organization dedicated to advancing the prevention, early diagnosis, and successful treatment of life threatening blood clots. NBCA accomplishes its mission through programs and events that build public awareness, educate patients and healthcare professionals, and promote supportive public and private sector policy.

About Liza Mitchell