$2.5m for beauty queen funeral – online campaign to raise money for burial and charity
August 05, 2016

The family of Miss Universe Jamaica 2011 Shakira Martin, who died on Tuesday, has set up a campaign aimed at raising the equivalent of J$2.5 million to, among other things, pay for her funeral expenses.

“I can’t manage anything right now,” Martin’s mother Andrea Hall, told The Weekend STAR.

David McDowell, a family friend, established a GoFundMe account two days ago, seeking to raise US$20,000 towards “final expenses” for Martin. Up to press time last night, US$16,441 had been raised in just a day.

“The purpose of doing the fund was to help with the remains. We are doing something here for her, which we are planning for next week, and then we are going to do a cremation. We are going to have a memorial service in Jamaica because Jamaica was a very happy place for her,” Hall said.

Martin, who lived in South Florida, died at Memorial Hospital West in Pembroke Pines from complications of sickle cell anaemia. She was 30.

“In the morning when I saw her, I didn’t feel comfortable because they said they were worried about her heart. I went to visit her on my way to work and I gave her a kiss and I gave her some ginger ale, and I never heard from her for the rest of the day,” Hall said.

She said that her daughter was not her usual bubbly self that morning and she even said to her, “Can you imagine that they think I may have had a mild heart-attack.” Hall said that after those words Martin shook her head.

Last encounter

But when Hall left the hospital that morning, little did she know that it would be her last encounter with a conscious daughter.

“I was logging out to leave work early because I didn’t like the fact that I didn’t hear from her, and then when I logged out, the nurse called me to say that she was unstable and that I need to come now,” Hall said.

She said that later that evening, about 6 o’ clock, she got a call from a doctor to say Martin had taken a turn for the worse. It was at that point that Martin was taken to the ICU, where she later died. “She went off peacefully. There was no disconnecting of anything because I was not going to have her resuscitated,” the mother said.

Meanwhile, McDowell, who said he was like Martin’s “big uncle”, said the setting up of the campaign was his way of helping Hall. “When I went to the hospital and she died I was thinking, how can I help her mom with the financial part of it, and this was the conclusion. All I did was to facilitate it because I know she wouldn’t be able to,” McDowell explained.

In addition to paying for funeral expenses, the family said that the money raised through the campaign would be used to push Martin’s Shak Hope Foundation.

The foundation was established in collaboration with the Miami Foundation to elevate awareness, education, and care options for other affected families in the US, the Caribbean, and around the world.

“She has practically been admitted every month for the past year,” Hall said.

Martin, who was dedicated to spreading awareness about sickle cell, spent much of the last few weeks relying on an oxygen tank to breathe. However, despite being ill, she visited Jamaica recently and was in the island up to Monday. “When she came back she went straight to the emergency room,” Hall said.

“She just wouldn’t let anything stop her. I was like, ‘Shakira, you can’t go without the oxygen’ and she would be like, ‘I am going’. She was just singing and having a good time,” Hall said of the days leading to her daughter’s death.


serious illnesses

Hall told The Weekend STAR that her daughter was in Dubai in February, and within a month, she needed to have a medical port installed.

“It was after the port – when she took a long drive and a flight back – that the clot happened. The sickle cell itself is one thing, but the complications. What ended up happening is that she ended up having blood clots to one lung – three of them – and then they put her on blood thinners but they didn’t work,” her mother said.

“A month later, they ended up in the next lung, so they put her on something stronger,” Hall added.

She recalled that her daughter ended a marketing campaign on May 29, one day before her 30th birthday. It was then that Hall said “she just gave up and decided to take a break”.

“She was in the hospital in Virginia for one week,” Hall said.

On Martin’s return to Florida, instead of heading home, where a surprise party was being planned, she had to go straight to the hospital, and, remained there for about five weeks.

Hall said her daughter complained of pain in her bone, in her legs. At that time, she was on oxygen and blood thinners.

“When she came back from Jamaica, it was not about the clots. It was about the pain in her legs from sickle cell,” Hall said.


  1. I won’t judge but I always think it is so painful when someone lives and dies and can’t afford to bury themselves. Owing to the fact that she was almost like an ambassador for jamaica, can the government not arrange for the funeral? This is sad.

  2. My condolence to the family. It’s neva a bad idea fi have likkle life insurance pon standby. USD$20K dem ah look fi raise fi funeral??? Ah mi fi tell yuh seh funeral nuh cheap, however dem can scale it dung man. Is what kind of elaborate setup dem ah plan?

    1. A dat me a ask myself, yah. From me a work me have my burial money put down and tappa dat,if me dead my employers pay deat in service fe bury me. Me too shame fe live and kyan bury myself when me dead.

    2. They are cremating the body, shouldn’t the cost be minimal, i.e, <$US$1,000? I do not understand the need for the Jamaica part. She was born and raised in the US.

        1. The price was quoted to me by Kartel, the Entertainer. Maybe there was some form of volume discount or we had to sign some forms saying it was a pet that was being cremated. Wasn’t any guarantee that any ashes would be available after the cremation process.

  3. I agree with all of the above – mentioned comments from Gabriella, Yawdylovethug, and Yawdy4life. Straight facts, nice and decent comments, and big up oonuselves for keeping it real! Respect and nuff love!

    1. Bless up nice lady.I never knew a foreigner can win ms. Jamaica!how comes?big up unno selves ketch unno ltr…mi ppl jus forward een a nm airport so run gone fi celebration ya now.Happy independence jmg massive n Jamaica well wishers! 🙂

  4. Smh i dont like to see when ppl pass and everyone and them granny have something to say about people life that they know nothing personally about. yes she was born in the states but Jamaica was her second home, she talk and sound more Jamaican then some weh still there all now, so there is nothing wrong with her family wanting to bring her there, Yes she should have had a likkle insurance put down but many of these insurance company’s will not take you once they know you are sick. so lets just be positive and pray for this mother as its so hard as a parent to have to bury your child

    1. I don’t think anyone was specifically judging her but we were remarking how the situation is sad. Yes, you make a point about pre existing conditions denying her insurance but it is not unheard of for family and friends to come together and raise money to bury a loved one. It’s sad when something as personal and private such as the funeral of a child becomes a very public matter, more so when that child was an ambassador for jamaica. R I P

    2. Please tuh read wid understanding. Is who did ah talk bout di lady life?? Don’t negate the fact that we were not speaking ill of this young lady. What is so wrong with advising people to get life insurance? With pre-existing issues like sickle cell, insurance companies will charge higher premiums, but I hardly think they refuse them all. Ah me fi tell yuh. Same thing weh Gabriella seh!

      1. You are right that they will charge higher premiums but there are companies that will not deny you coverage. I found it hard to believe that the family was having issues paying for final expenses when she seemed to be a regular traveler. No one is judging but people tend to ask questions when someone who has always been viewed as a ‘socialite’ needs help paying for things

  5. there are two kind of insursnces everyone should know about. The first in term life. Basically, you purchase it at a particular rate for ten, twenty or thirty years before 50 the rates are reasonable. You must renew when the term is up and they are usually around 100,000 -150,000 payout. Smokers are usually covered under this policy. The second, comprehensive life insurance. It’s the traditional life insurance which accumulates cash over a period of time which you can borrow from, or you leave it, and the payee will receive it plus the policy payout. For 250,000 policy (I am in Canada) it’s roughly 70$ per month. I have a four year old and I think he matters, as most parents think their kids matter. With that in mind I encourage everyone to investigated, and buy a policy so the burden isn’t on any one.

    P.s I do not work in the insurance business, just wanted to share.

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