Ambition: Would-be heart surgeon Jecar Chapman currently works in the lab at BIOS. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead
Ambition: Would-be heart surgeon Jecar Chapman currently works in the lab at BIOS. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead
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UPDATE, July 17, 2013: An anonymous family stepped in to help Jecar reach his dream.


Jecar Chapman came to live in Bermuda as a young child and fell in love with our beautiful island.

Now 22, he wants to give back — by studying to become a heart surgeon and treating patients on-island.

But Jecar, whose father is Bermudian, has run into financial difficulty and probably won’t be able to afford the microbiology course he’s been accepted into at Dalhousie University. The annual cost is $26,000. 

A valedictorian graduate of CedarBridge Academy, Jecar wants to take an undergraduate degree at Dalhousie and then enrol at its medical school. He has an associate’s degree from Bermuda College and has exhausted academic options on the island.

Jecar has applied for many scholarships but has not been successful.

“Working in a medical field has been my dream ever since I was young and has not changed since,” he told us.

Hospitable Bermuda

“At first I wasn›t sure what exactly I wanted to specialize in, but when I came to Bermuda I was welcomed with open arms by the hospitable people of Bermuda, especially the elders. It made me feel so welcome and not out of place and thankful that I felt I wanted to give back to them.

“I realized many patients from Bermuda are always being sent away in order to be treated with their illnesses or get a surgery done. That’s when I decided that if I become a surgeon specializing in cardiac [cases], people won’t have to fly overseas, but instead be treated in the comfort of their own island.”

Jecar, originally from the Phillipines, has wanted to be a surgeon for as long as he can remember.

His father Bruce Chapman said he has always been a good student and is persistent when it comes to his education.

“It’s a little but heart wrenching to be in a position where he wants to be a heart surgeon and practice in Bermuda and scholarships turn him down,” he tolds us.

A clerical error might have also worked against him. Mr Chapman said: “When he first applied, Dalhousie put ‘marine biology’ on the information instead of ‘microbiology’.

“Jecar got an  e-mail back saying marine biology isn’t a scholarship they covered, even though [the mistake] it was corrected.”

He continued: “Now, he’s working at BIOS for his fourth summer in the lab.

“He started with the CedarBridge Academy programme, then Bermuda College — he’s done all he can there. One of his mentors said it’s not like we have to find him to make him do his work, we have to find more work for him to do!”

Mr Chapman said he and his wife Kim are unable to financially support Jecar’s dream.

“Unfortunately, the funding isn’t with us. We’re struggling to get him off in August. The desire is there for him to come back and contribute something to Bermuda.

Death

“His father died when he was very young and I adopted him after I married his mother. Asked why the community should financially support him, Jecar said: “I know my goal is a really big one, and some may say it’s only a dream, but I am doing my best in order to meet that goal, while keeping in mind that I will be facing many challenges.

“It will be a long journey but with friends and family behind me, knowing that they are there to support me the best they can, I know that one day that goal I have set will be met.”

Mr Chapman said if they are unable to secure funding for Dalhousie, Jecar will probably head to the Phillipines where he will have to start from scratch.

“We’re facing $26, 000 a year to send him to Dalhousie. In the Phillipines, it’s $5,000 a year and if he plans to come back here after that, there are accreditation issues.

“Considering the prestige of Dalhousie, as his father, I’m thinking this is worth it.”

He continued: “We’re looking to see if we can drum up any help. We’re appealing to the public to help him further his dreams to contribute back to the island of Bermuda that has his heart.” 

If you are interested in helping Jecar financially, contact Mikaela Pearman for more information on mpearman@bermudasun.bm.