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Couples Resorts Staff Spotlight: Yvette Lorraine Henry at Couples Tower Isle

Couples Resorts’ founder Abe Issa opened Jamaica’s first year-round resort, Tower Isle Hotel in 1949 and never looked back. In 1978, he then pioneered the all-inclusive concept for couples to the island—blending luxury, romance and value under one roof. Named Couples Ocho Rios, it served as the cornerstone for building the Couples Resorts brand.

When you call Couples Tower Isle today, a soothing and cheerful voice answers: “Thank you for calling Couples Tower Isle, Operator Yvette speaking”. Yvette Lorraine Henry has been employed at the resort for 27 years and during this period, she also spent six years in the kitchen department doing pastry and breakfast prior to her switch to become a resort operator.

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In 2013, Yvette discovered a swelling on the right side of her cranium and upon conferring with her doctor, did a Computed Tomography (CT) scan in November. She proceeded to visit a neurologist in Kingston, Jamaica and was referred to a neurosurgeon. With the usual battery of tests performed, on March 19 2014 a biopsy was ordered and the final diagnosis made. She had grade 1 – Meningioma,
and whilst non-cancerous, surgery was still required. Eager to put the diagnosis behind her, Yvette was ready to have the surgery done and was awaiting the doctor’s costs associated with surgery. Unfortunately, when she received the breakdown in June 2014, all plans had to be delayed as the cost of the surgery was projected to be US$53000.

With that daunting figure in mind, her supervisor Bettina and coworker Anjullian encouraged her to seek assistance from the charity arm of Couples Resorts; the Issa Trust Foundation (ITF). With a light at the end of the tunnel realized, and with the support of General Manager Leonard Henry and other members of the Management team including Alex Ghisays, Charmaine Bailey and Maxine Beckford-Stewart, contact was made with President of ITF Diane Pollard who received all the necessary documents needed such as the CT scan and MRI to see how the Foundation could assist. Diane reached out to nurse Kerri Cook for assistance, and Kerri shares her experience below:

I worked with Dr Kerr many years ago at Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa. He moved to New York a few years ago.
When Diane Pollard approached me and told me of Yvette's medical issue, she asked if I knew of any neurosurgeon in the area that would be willing to help Yvette.
I immediately thought of Dr Robert Kerr. I knew he had moved away, so my task of finding him might be a struggle.
I found him on the internet and he works for a hospital in Huntington, New York.
I called on a Sunday afternoon in May to get a phone number or an email address where I could reach Dr Kerr. The on call operator took my information and said someone would call me the next day. I was not hopeful at all.
First thing Monday morning, I received a call from Erica Ardito who works for Dr Kerr's office. She said she wanted more information and Dr Kerr wanted to know more about Yvette and the case. She asked if I could get the MRI and the CT scans that were completed in Jamaica to their office so Dr Kerr can look at them before he decides if he could do the procedure or not.
I talked to Diane who was able to connect with Yvette and get the scans to Dr Kerr.
After numerous phone calls to Erica and Dr Kerr, in July, Dr Kerr agreed to do the surgery in New York, which would take place in October.
He was able to have the entire hospital stay, equipment, and medical treatment done completely free of charge to Yvette.
I am grateful that I made that connection with Dr Kerr, as he is one of the kindest surgeons I have ever met. I am forever grateful to him for helping Yvette, a stranger who has now become his friend.

With a great team at work, friends and family members, Yvette added that she “has received an overwhelming support from all during this difficult period”. She added that “the staff have been very caring and so helpful and she is now just keeping calm and staying focused and positive”.

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In October 2014, after months of waiting, Yvette left Jamaica and journeyed to Huntington hospital in Long Island, USA where she underwent five hours of surgery (tumor was not cancerous) and subsequent radiation as a precaution with Dr Robert Kerr by her side. She returned to the island on March 12 and has been doing exceptionally and returned to work on March 23.

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Yvette after the surgery with Darin Meder- Couples Resorts Business Development Manager

When we caught up with her at work, she was all smiles and settling back into her routine, overjoyed and eager to express her appreciation to family, friends, repeat guest Sandra Henderson, President of Issa Trust Diane Pollard, Nurse Kerri, the medical team at Huntington and Dr Kerr and wishes them all the best and God’s blessings so they can continue to assist more persons in need as they did for her.

Couples Resorts owns and operates four 5 star all- inclusive resorts in Jamaica and has always been willing to offer needed assistance to their surrounding communities. The Issa Trust Foundation (ITF), a nonprofit organization was established in 2005 dedicated to making a positive and lasting impact on the youth of Jamaica.

Since inception, the foundation has conducted annual pediatric medical missions in Negril and Ocho Rios Jamaica, treating thousands of children. The mission’s goal is not only to provide free medical care to children, but to also guide local health care providers, so that they can continue to practice in their home countries where their skills are most urgently needed.

For more information about the Issa Trust Foundation, please visit their website:
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