With some 767 swimmers, The Flowers One Mile Sea Swim made waves as the largest swimming event in Cayman Islands history.
However the ripples of this will be felt long after, as almost US$28,000 was raised towards the Sunrise Adult Training centre.
The Sunrise Centre is a government agency in the Cayman Islands that provides training, support and services for the empowerment, employment and independence of adults with disabilities through a team of dedicated and caring staff.
The primary function of the programme is to provide opportunities for Adults with Disabilities to learn the skills they need to become responsible, productive and fully functioning members of the community.
Currently the centre is at maximum capacity and consequently there are several disabled members of the community who are unable to be a part of the programme.
The director of the Sunrise Centre, Roberta Gordon, was ecstatic to have the centre be the charity benefactor for this year’s Flowers Sea Swim.
‘This is the most publicity we’ve received in years,’ she said. ‘Many people have no idea what the centre does or that it even exists. All of the exposure from this event can only raise awareness in the general community, which will continue to benefit us.’
Event cordinator, Dara Flowers-Burke echoed these sentiments. ‘The Flowers Sea Swim was so excited to partner with the Sunrise Centre,’ she said. ‘Many people are not familiar with this organization, but as soon as we told people, they were like wow, what a great cause!
‘The much deserved funds donated to the Sunrise Centre, will go a long way towards assisting with development and programmes.
‘However, the Sunrise Centre is not housed in a purpose-built building. It is actually a duplex house that the government is leasing. Therefore, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to meet all the special needs of the trainees.
‘One swimmer from the Centre, Andrew Smiley, came 38th overall which was fantastic and seven other sunrise clients participated in the Walk and Watch.’
Race founder Frank Flowers Snr, said: ‘We have started something here. There is an awareness about the Sunrise Centre that didn’t exist before the swim.
‘But we can’t stop there. The centre is in desperate need of a functional, purpose built facility. In addition to the funds donated from the Sea Swim, The Flowers Group is also pledging to donate all the concrete blocks towards a new building facility for Sunrise. We are urging other members and businesses in the community to also do the same.’