Runner Haines gears up for epic marathon fundraiser

Aims to raise $1 million for HospiceCare by running six marathons this year

Champion fundraiser and inveterate runner Derek Haines officially launched his bid to raise $1 million to build a new facility for Cayman HospiceCare at a reception at Governor Helen Kilpatrick’s residence Wednesday night.  

Mr. Haines, 65, intends to run six marathons (26.2 miles each) this year and raise the $1 million from donations. All proceeds will go to the HospiceCare project as Mr. Haines is paying all of his own expenses.  

A Rotarian, he has the support of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, whose treasurer Chris Johnson is handling the accounts. The Rotary Club has donated $2,800 to the British Hospice Society to guarantee him entry into the London Marathon next month.  

In praising Mr. Haines’s effort, Governor Kilpatrick said, “I’m very proud to be a patron of his endeavor, but it’s Derek we should all be proud of. He’s the one doing all the running, putting the effort in, getting up every day at 5 a.m., pounding the street. I think it is fantastic what he’s doing, and we should all get behind him and support him.”  

Mrs. Kilpatrick added that since this is the first time such a huge fundraising challenge has been attempted here by a single person, support should be colossal.  

“This is such an awesome challenge, which is why I think everyone in the Cayman Islands should really get behind him and really make it a total success.” 

She said there is no chance of seeing her out training with Mr. Haines but mentioned that he has challenged her to run the last mile of the Cayman Islands marathon with him.  

Chris Duggan, who has a long association with Cayman HospiceCare through his father Nick, a founding board member, was named chairman of the nonprofit the night before the reception. Mr. Duggan’s father, who died from skin cancer in 2006, was under HospiceCare’s supervision.  

Mr. Duggan said his daughter Caroline was just nine months old at the time and used to play with her grandfather in the weeks before his passing. 

“My father called Caroline his little angel,” Mr. Duggan said. “She was his only grandchild. Now he has four, but she was the only one he was alive to see. I’m one of three boys, so he finally got a daughter of sorts, and through HospiceCare she was able to be at his bedside 24 hours a day. It meant a lot to him and obviously to us.” 

Mr. Duggan said he is thrilled that full funding for a purpose-built facility hopefully will be in place by the end of the year.  

HospiceCare’s own fundraising efforts covers its $750,000 annual operational costs.  

“When Derek came to us with this idea, we obviously jumped on it,” Mr. Duggan said. “It’s an incredible opportunity and we’re really appreciative of Derek for doing this for us, and we look forward to supporting him and seeing it come to fruition. 

“The care that the HospiceCare gave my father was incredible, and even now, eight years on, they are still part of our family. I’m certainly proud to become the chairman to continue the incredible service it provides.” 

Mr. Haines said running the marathons “after the emotions of tonight, is going to be a lot easier. Listening to Chris Duggan’s story and the other stories and being involved, the whole thing becomes more emotional.” 

Mr. Haines said initial support has been inspiring. At the reception, the Pink Ladies Volunteer Corps presented a check for $10,000, and Mr. Haines announced that a donation of $100,000 had already been received. To date, more than $220,000 has been received or pledged.  

He was impressed that Premier Alden McLaughlin attended the reception, as well as Deputy Governor Franz Manderson and Police Commissioner David Baines, among other notable guests.  

“There’s a bunch of folks here who are very, very supportive, and I think we will come up trumps because they know that when they are putting money into this venture, it’s got to be safe,” Mr. Haines said. 

He added that he is looking forward to running the last mile of the Cayman marathon with Mrs. Kilpatrick, and the fact that she is the patron of his campaign emphasizes the importance of making it a success.  

“I am truly grateful to Mrs. Kilpatrick,” he said. “She has proven herself already to be a wonderful governor of the Caymans and her support of this is fantastic.” 

His first marathon is the Paris race on April 6, followed by the London marathon a week later. 

“Then I will run the Pamplona in Spain with my daughter Lizzy, followed by San Francisco, New York if I’m accepted later this month (runners are selected through a lottery), and finally the biggest marathon in the world – on Dec. 7 – Cayman!” 

For more information and to pledge donations, go to www.six4hospice.com

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Chris Duggan, the new chairman of Cayman HiospiceCare.

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Derek Haines and Governor Helen Kilpatrick at Mr. Haines’s fundraising reception at the governor’s house. – PHOTOS: RON SHILLINGFORD

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