5K help for Special Olympics

Deputy Governor Franz Manderson will donate to Cayman’s Special Olympics team the proceeds from his April 26 5-kilometer walk/run, helping fund the group’s summertime trip to Los Angeles for the biennial world games. 

Organizers said they hoped to raise as much as $20,000 for the team and that as many as 1,000 participants in the April 26 event. 

“We are honored to be chosen as the recipient of this year’s DG’s 5K Challenge,” said Antoinette Johnson, head of delegation for the Special Olympics Cayman Islands. “This event will certainly help to raise the profile of our programs and our athletes. 

“This fundraiser is a huge boost to our efforts to ensure our athletes are able to attend and have the experience of a lifetime.” 

The delegation comprises 28 athletes, nine “unified partners,” five head coaches, 10 assistant coaches and two heads of delegation – a total of 54 people. Unified partners are regular athletes who help special athletes learn more skills in team sports. 

The 24th Special Olympics World Games will be staged at the Los Angeles Coliseum between July 25 and Aug. 2. 

Registration for the second annual DG5K fundraiser runs March 2 to 31, and is open to the entire community. Fees are $10 for those under 13 years old; $15 per person for groups of 10 or more; and $20 for general registration. 

Last year’s event, which drew more than 600 participants, raised $12,500 for Cayman HospiceCare. 

The course starts and ends at Elgin Avenue’s Government Administration Building, and is still being plotted, selected from among a handful of options. 

“About a year-and-a-half ago, the deputy governor initiated a walk/run for civil servants, encouraging them to get fit and engage with the community,” said a Government Information Services spokeswoman. The group developed several alternative courses, she said, a combination of which will be mapped for the April event. 

Cayman’s Olympians will compete in five events in Los Angeles: aquatic sports and swimming, featuring Quinton Ebanks, Kanza Bodden and international award-winner Andrew Smiley; basketball, featuring Andrew Hayles, Beckman Ebanks, Waide McLaughlin, Harris Egbert, Solomon Webster, Jonathan McField, Kevin Watler and Mr. Smiley; bocce ball, which has previously featured Leonardo Bodden, Mark Ebanks, Solomon Webster and Elena Ow Lam; athletics – mostly track and field – and football. 

April’s 5K will set off at 6 a.m. for walkers and 7 a.m. for runners, but organizers said the course would be designed to accommodate everyone.  

“You can be a mom with a stroller, and do a relay with friends; you can come in a wheelchair, and have a team; you can do teams of 10 and have a competition,” the spokeswoman said. 

Sponsorship packages range from “in kind,” meaning donations of advertising, cases of water or any of a variety of products and services, through monetary contributions of $500, $1,000, $2,000 and up to $5,000. 

“It is fitting to raise awareness of [Special Olympics Cayman Islands], its programs, its contribution to our community wellbeing, and to shine the spotlight on the dedicated athletes that overcome significant challenges in their pursuit of excellence,” Mr. Manderson said. “There is alignment of SOCI’s values with those of the DG’s 5K Challenge. Thus, what better way to ‘challenge’ our civil servants and community to support SOCI and the ambitions of these athletes.” 


From left, athlete Keanu McKenzie, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, athlete Kathryn Kleinworth-Whorms, and Antoinette Johnson, head of delegation of the Special Olympics Cayman Islands.