Cyclists support fight against cancer

Cayman’s cycling community gave the
Cayman Islands Cancer Society a substantial boost recently with the
presentation of a $15,243 cheque.

The money was collected through a
charity auction that formed part of the Cayman Pro Cycling Camp, held in
association with the Garmin-Cervelo pro cycling team.

The event served as a preseason
team-building camp for the team and also allowed local cycling enthusiasts to
meet some of the top cyclists in the world, including reigning world champion
Thor Hushovd and sprinting sensation Tyler Farrar.

According to the organiser of the
event, Tom McCallum, the choice of the Cancer Society as benefitting charity
was an easy one.

“Thanks to the efforts of Lance
Armstrong and others, awareness of cancer and the support of cancer charities
is very big in the cycling community from the pro athletes on down, so it was
quite an easy choice, particularly given the reputation of the Cayman Islands
Cancer Society for being a very effective charity on the Islands,” he said.

Steve Abbott, president of the
Cayman Islands Cycling Association, said the link between a healthy, active
lifestyle and the reduction of the incidence of cancer also made the Cancer
Society the perfect beneficiary.

“Cancer affects everyone, and I
personally don’t think I know of many people who haven’t been affected by it in
some way,” he said.

According to Mr. McCallum, much of
the success of the auction can be ascribed to the generous assistance provided
by the Garmin-Cervelo cycling team.

“I did press upon the team that we
wanted to make sure we could raise significant money for charity, and the team
was very kind to donate three absolutely fantastic bikes, ridden by the pros,
and in fact the bulk of the money that we raised from the charity auction was
from the donations from the Garmin-Cervelo team, so thanks to them again,” he
said.

Jennifer Weber, operations manager
of the Cancer Society, accepted the donation on behalf of the society.

“Cancer is so expensive – no one
can afford to have cancer. So regardless of what socioeconomic bracket you fit
into, everyone needs help to pay for the treatment, so when you donate money
here, it really does help a very broad cross-section of people,” she said.

According to Ms Weber, donations to
the Cancer Society are used in two ways.

“We do education programmes to help
with the prevention of cancer – we believe that early detection is very
important, and so a lot of the money goes out to education programmes.

“The other way that the money will
help us is that for people who are already sick, it allows us to help them with
their medical expenses. If they have insurance, but the insurance doesn’t cover
things like travel expenses or lodging or miscellaneous other things, those are
the things that we can help with,” she said.

BIZstory

Steve Abbott, president of the Cayman Islands Cycling Association, presents Jennifer Weber, operations manager of the Cayman Islands Cancer Society, with the donation, while event organiser Tom McCallum looks on.
Photo: Eugene Bonthuys