A jubilant Derek Haines was bathed in applause as he achieved his $1 million Cayman HospiceCare challenge as he crossed the finish line of the Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon Sunday morning.
Mr. Haines finished his sixth and final marathon in 3 hours 58 minutes 25 seconds, and as he completed it in front of hundreds of cheering onlookers outside Breezes by the Bay on the waterfront, he was joined by the women who mainly contributed to helping him reach the figure.
Mr. Haines finished with Governor Helen Kilpatrick, his wife Helen, daughter Lizzie who came over from Brisbane, Australia, to run the marathon herself, and training partner Cynthia Hew.
The 66-year-old Englishman had raised just over $900,000 since launching the challenge in March leading up to this 26.2-mile run, and fingers were crossed that late donations would tip him over that magic figure. They did.
The exact sum when he finished just before 9 a.m. was $1,030,200 with a little more to come.
“I’m ecstatic and thank everyone for their support,” Mr. Haines said. “Cynthia, my wife, the Governor and Lizzie have been fantastic, and more than anything, people of the Cayman Islands have really taken on this challenge with me.” He added that apart from the money, all the services and in-kind contributions – including Dart donating the land in Camana Bay to build the new facility – have been heartwarming.
When the seven-figure milestone looked out of reach earlier in the week, Mr. Haines resorted to email and tapping into his vast network of contacts. He said, “We had a crazy last few days and when it did not look as if it was going to happen, on Friday night two people offered to underwrite it if we didn’t get there.”
Chris Duggan, the chair of Cayman HospiceCare, said, “I’m absolutely thrilled. It’s a remarkable effort from Derek, and I’m speechless.”
Mr. Duggan added that there had been ups and downs over whether they were going to raise the $1 million, and he was relieved when they did.
“If we can call this the Cayman Community Hospice Center, we will, because it has been a real community effort,” he said, adding that now the accounts have to be finalized, and there will be an official handover by the Rotary Club, which is handling the funds.
He said that a small HospiceCare group had already met with John Doak Architecture, which is preparing the plans for free.
“Definitely, in the coming year we’ll make some progress in terms of the building,” Mr. Duggan said. “I’m hoping to break ground in the new year and maybe finalizing the build by the first quarter of 2016.”
Governor Kilpatrick said, “This is a fantastic achievement by Derek, and I think we should all feel amazingly proud of him.”
Although patron to the Six4Hospice campaign, the Governor deflected all credit.
“I haven’t really done anything,” she said. “Derek’s done all the work with his supporters. I’ve just been attending the events and watching the money mount up and really hoping he would reach his target, which he has done.
“The next thing now is to actually build the hospice, and I shall be looking forward to seeing how that goes on as well.”
Race director Rhonda Kelly was pleased that this, the 12th staging of the event, was the best so far, with more than 1,250 participants. American visitor Justin Grunewald won the marathon for the third time in four years, in 2:47:11.
“I think everybody got goose bumps when Derek crossed the finish line,” Mrs. Kelly said. “It was absolutely incredible.”
Apart from the stress and enormous work involved, Mrs. Kelly had to cope with a debilitating back spasm the day before the event.
She received medical attention and pushed on to success with equally hard-working colleagues Laurie-Ann Holding and Bev Sinclair and an army of volunteers.
To make a donation, go to www.six4hospice.com.