Jingle Bell rang up $54k cheer

It was all for a good cause when more than 300 entrants ran for either 5 kilometers or 10km in the Jingle Bell Walk/Run last week.

The event was held at the Holiday Inn Resort Grand Cayman (formerly the Grand Caymanian) for the second consecutive year and, although there were no official winners in any category, everyone was championing a worthy cause, the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre.

Jingle Bell is the major fundraiser for the crisis centre and runners arrived in droves to support an invaluable Cayman institution.

The setting is not only extremely picturesque, it is very safe for all participants as it is all run around the hotel’s vicinity.

Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus, aka Len Layman and Victoria Wheaton, attempted to run the race in their costumes but quickly decided just to hand out raffle prizes afterwards.

It was the eleventh staging of the Jingle Bell event and crisis centre executive director Ania Milanowska-Sedgley was thrilled with both the turnout and the amount raised, $54,000.

Entry in the run was a modest $20 so the majority of the funds came from donators, the main ones being LIME, Green Light Re-Insurance Ltd, Maples, Aon Insurance, Walkers, Insurance Managers Association of Cayman, Rawlinson & Hunter, Kobre & Kim LLP and DMS Kiss.

An appreciative Milanowska-Sedgley said, “The crisis centre is a charitable organization and we depend heavily on the support of individuals and the corporate community in order to provide a safe shelter for women and their children who are victims of domestic violence.

“We simply would not be able to offer the services and programs that we do if it wasn’t for the community support and our generous sponsors.”

Milanowska-Sedgley thanked what she described as “a fantastic fundraising committee” for all its efforts.

She is helped on the fundraising committee by chair Allison Clarke and members Janette Goodman, Denise Gower, Tammy Seymour, Melisa Johnson, Marit Hudson, Jayne Lawless, Nicola Martyn, Michelle Wouda and Keri Walcott.

Milanowska-Sedgley added, “All their hard work and dedication has not only made the Jingle Bell our biggest and most successful fundraising event, but also all the other fundraising ideas which are carried out throughout the year are having a continuous significant impact on the lives of our clients and their children.”

She also thanked the runners and coach Jerry Harper for his input, as well as the volunteers and raffle prize donators. A special mention was reserved for Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus who kept the participants who stayed for breakfast entertained.

Wouda said, “I couldn’t have done half of what I did without our supportive fundraising committee, who has lots of history with our signature event.

“We have a wonderful network of corporate sponsors who support us year after year but, that said, nothing is a slam dunk and, as such, we appreciate every single corporate donation and never expect that it will be repeated year on year.

“In addition to the monies raised, we also have so many who aid to make this event what it is, such as the volunteers who help with registration of the walk/run, which mainly come from the Ritz-Carlton’s footprints program, DMS Broadcasting and Cayman Active who help to promote the run and all of our prize sponsors.”

Wouda thanked Santa for giving out toys to the kids who attended the race and Book Nook for donating toys in the store’s traditional generous gesture.

“It was also great seeing the community rally around such an important cause, which not just raises much needed funds but also awareness for this critically important cause,” she said.

Held at the Holiday Inn Resort Grand Cayman (formerly the Grand Caymanian) for the second consecutive year and although there were no official winners in any category, everyone was championing a worthy cause, the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre.

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