Marathon fundraising campaign gathering pace
Running man Derek Haines took another giant stride towards his goal of bringing a new hospice to the Cayman Islands with the announcement that his employer Dart Enterprises will offer land at peppercorn rent for the new facility.
Mr. Haines is almost halfway towards raising $1 million for a new four-bed care facility. Now Dart has weighed in by offering a piece of land for the building – a move that would save Cayman HospiceCare around $70-000-a-year in rent.
The exact location has yet to be determined but it will be in the vicinity of Camana Bay, according to HospiceCare chairman Chris Duggan.
Mr. Haines is aiming to run six marathons this year in a unique fundraising campaign to finance the new facility.
He has completed two marathons so far and will run his next race in Pamplona, Spain, in June. He said the campaign had become a community-wide effort.
“It is really exciting the way the community has got a grip of it. It has almost taken on a life of its own,” he said.
“The fact that Dart is going to provide the land to build the hospice is a huge boost. The $1 million fund is just for the building, that didn’t take into account the land. HospiceCare currently pays about $6,000 every month on rent, so that’s money that can now be used on operational costs.”
Mark VanDevelde, CEO of Dart Enterprises, said the company was “very happy to be able to provide Cayman HospiceCare with a parcel of land on which they will be able to construct their new facility once the extraordinary fundraising efforts of Derek Haines and his team have been completed, and the funds handed over to Hospice.” “This new facility will enable them to enhance the invaluable work they perform each day in our community and we look forward to working with the HospiceCare board of directors as this long term vision becomes a reality,” he added.
With this weekend’s donations, including around $7,000 from the Franz Manderson 5k race, Mr. Haines estimates the fund is up to $435,000 – in terms of a marathon, he is approaching mile 12.
The effort has also been boosted by a number of “in-kind” donations, including the announcements this weekend that John Doak architecture will design the new building for free and Precision Solar will supply power for free.
There is still some way to go, admits Mr. Haines, who himself has four marathons – a total of 104.8 miles – to run.
But he said he was enthused by the way his efforts had galvanized the community.
“You’ve got people who have given $100,000 and then you’ve got the woman at the coffee shop the other day, who gave me a hug and gave me $25. It all adds up.
“The people who see me out running and shout out words of support are contributing too because they are motivating me. Everybody can say they helped put a brick in the wall,” he said.
Mr. Duggan said he was overwhelmed by the response so far.
“We have always thought Derek will achieve his goal because he is the sort of person that won’t stop until he does, but the level of support from within the community has been overwhelming.”
He said everyone could relate to the work being done by HospiceCare, which provides end of life care for seriously ill patients.
The principal aim of the hospice is to allow people to die at home, surrounded by their families rather than at hospital, while still having access to the necessary medical care.
Cayman HospiceCare currently has a two-bed in-patient unit. The aim of the fundraising campaign is to replace that with a new four-bed unit for patients that are too sick to be at home.
Mr. Duggan said it would enable them to die with dignity, with their families around them, instead of in hospital.