Building castles for a cause

An event this weekend will see
castles rising from the sands of Seven Mile Beach, and for a good cause to

Benefiting from Cayman ARK’s
sandcastle competition, set to take place at 2.30pm on Saturday, 28 August at
Calico Jack’s, will be young Zoe Solomon and her mother Alice.

Zoe is far from a typical
nine-year-old. Most nine-year-olds have not successfully battled a ventricle
tumour attached to the main arteries of their heart, nor have they undergone
numerous cardiac surgeries. A typical nine-year-old has not just had her third
pacemaker replaced.

But Zoe has persevered like a
champion through all these challenges. The West Bay Primary student is scheduled
for a six-month check-up on her new pacemaker on 9 September in Miami.

The story doesn’t end here, though.
After successfully battling the tumour on her heart, the plucky youngster
recently ran into trouble of a different sort. While playing with a friend she
suffered a freak accident, breaking her femur.

Traction was required, and after
five weeks in hospital, Zoe spent the following two months at home in bed,
unable to even sit up.

When her cast was removed, doctors
discovered her left leg was four and a half inches shorter than her right leg.
So now, in addition to the appointment in Miami to check her heart, Zoe will
also go see a specialist to try and determine what can be done about her leg.

It’s a situation neither Zoe nor
her family was prepared for. And while CINICO is covering Zoe’s medical costs,
the other bills – electricity, water and home care – are piling up. Ms Solomon,
a single mother of five who works as an office assistant at Price Waterhouse
Coopers, has not only been caring for Zoe, but also her three younger children
as well.

Tara Nielson, founder of Cayman
ARK, heard about Zoe’s plight and determined to do something to help.

“We are an organization of over 120
members, a legion of women dedicated to doing random acts of kindness, which is
where our name comes from,” said Ms Nielson.

Cayman ARK are pooling their
efforts to help.

“We thought holding a sandcastle
competition would be a great way to raise funds to help Alice with all the
bills she has racked up, doing as much as she could through this whole ordeal,”
said Ms Nielson.

“She is totally hyperextended.” The
organisers of the sandcastle competition hope to build on the significant
success of a similar competition the organization held last year that allowed a
group of foster children from Grand Cayman to attend summer camp on Little

“It’s a way for the community to
come out and support a good cause, and it’s fun!” said Ms Nielson. Ms Solomon
expressed her appreciation for the support, and remains optimistic about the

“People ask me if this is hard,”
she said.

“I say no, I give God thanks I have
the strength to get through this.”


Zoe Solomon is well on the way to recovery and is a student at West Bay Primary School.
Photo: Submitted