Cayman charities: Opening our hearts — and wallets

Having completed runs in Paris, London, Spain, San Francisco and now Ireland, the Cayman Islands’ own “Marathon Man” Derek Haines is one race and $200,000 away from his goal of raising $1 million to build a much-needed facility for Cayman HospiceCare.

The final race on Mr. Haines’s schedule this year is the Dec. 7 Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon, meaning he has just under six weeks to recuperate and prepare his body for the last 26.2 miles, and donors have the same amount of time to dig deep for this financial sprint down the home stretch.

The efforts of Mr. Haines and his supporters may be the singular act of charity this year in Cayman (It certainly must be the most grueling physically), but they aren’t the only people in Cayman in a persistent “giving mood.”

As always, people throughout the Cayman community continue to demonstrate extraordinary generosity and dedication to their own cherished causes. This becomes particularly evident as the breezes turn brisker and the Christmas season approaches.

Already this month, a number of organizations have hosted events that have brought in significant amounts of donations. For example, the Breast Cancer Foundation’s annual gala raised more than $140,000 for the Cayman Islands Cancer Society. The National Council of Voluntary Organisations raised a record $138,000 during its annual radio/telethon this past weekend. The Cayman Islands Red Cross annual golf tournament raised more than $44,000, and the Cayman Islands Olympic Fundraising Committee’s “White Party, Hamptons Style” brought in an estimated $40,000.

Other events this month have benefited the Central Caribbean Marine Institute, Cayman Islands Veterans Association, Feed our Future, Estella Scott-Roberts Foundation, Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, Cayman Islands Humane Society, Spanish Consulate scholarship program, and Acts of Random Kindness (ARK).

The charitable schedule is even more packed in the weeks ahead, with signature functions coming up for the Cayman Rugby Club (Oct. 31 Vampires Ball), Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce (Nov. 7 Golf Classic), National Gallery of the Cayman Islands (Nov. 21 Surrealists’ Ball), Hedge Funds Care (Nov. 29 Open Your Heart to Children Benefit), Pink Ladies Volunteer Corps (Nov. 29 Christmas Bazaar and Tea), and Rotary Club of Grand Cayman Central (Nov. 29 Music Extravaganza), for starters.

And that’s not including December’s holiday-oriented campaigns, including Camana Bay’s Christmas Give benefiting ARK, the 25 Days of Christmas Toy Drive put on by local youngster Elisabeth Bise, and the Cayman Islands Motorcycle Riders Association’s Toys 4 Tots Toy Drive, as well as raffles, events and sundry other programs by local churches.

We list these examples not just to encourage people to give to particular groups, but also to illustrate that, despite being in the midst of proverbial “hard times,” the local community — Caymanian and expatriate alike — continues to display remarkable benevolence that manifests in creative and entrepreneurial ways.

But even if all of those groups meet their individual goals, and all of the events we cite are unqualified triumphs, this year’s “giving season” cannot be deemed a runaway success unless Cayman’s premier fundraising effort crosses the financial finish line.

Because Derek Haines’s $1 million goal for HospiceCare is so ambitious, the cause so worthy, and the support he has received so substantial, it is even more imperative that we as a country rally around him to ensure victory. In our minds, when Mr. Haines runs in his final marathon here, he won’t just be representing the organization he has adopted, but will be the standard-bearer for Cayman’s spirit of charitable giving.

1 COMMENT

  1. He is a national hero.The Cayman Islands own Marathon Man needs our support in the final race.Let’s open our hearts and wallets.
    Thank you Mr.Derek.

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