The Cayman Heart Fund is raising money for a new ambulance on Grand Cayman, as there are only three in full service at the moment.
Heart Fund member David Stock hopes to raise $30,000 from running in three grueling events in the next couple of months to help reach the target of around $125,000 for the new ambulance.
His first run is the 26.2-mile Des Moines Marathon in Iowa on Sunday. Then he does the KRyS Global 30K Solo Run in East End on Oct. 25 before tackling the New York City Marathon on Nov. 1.
Stock has personal reasons for committing to this particular fundraising.
“Running has been a godsend for my heart and soul in times of struggle,” he said. “I am the eldest of three brothers, the other two have been hospitalized with atrial fibrillation (AFIB), which in simple terms means that your heart gets out of rhythm and could cause serious health issues if it isn’t fixed, including heart failure and stroke.”
There are tests to detect AFIB, but often the symptoms are not apparent and they can show up at any time, among young or old. A standard electrocardiagram does not always catch AFIB because it is only a snapshot of the heart’s health.
Stock’s father has also lived with AFIB for several years. “In my family, I am the only one who has not had heart issues – yet.
“I am also a full-time single father of two little boys who rely on their dad every day, so I run to stay healthy for them too and to show them what giving back is all about.”
He added that he feels it would be rewarding to run for something that is so dear to his heart – literally.
Stock’s personal target of $30,000 seems achievable to him because as a civil servant he is appealing to all his colleagues to donate an average of $10.
“A $10 donation could save your own life someday by having a quicker ambulance response time and better technology to help you or a family member needing healthcare.”
Stock started working out in 2009, but consistent running started only last March, not to get in shape physically but just to focus his mind.
“I ran initially to just make it through a rough patch, but then found that I really enjoyed it and it helped me maintain balance in other areas of my life.
“Running has kept me [stay] in shape and is an activity that I will be able to do at any age.
“I am also asking all civil servants and government employees to donate to this cause as a gift to the excellent healthcare the Health Services Authority provides civil servants.”
The 42-year-old works for the Cayman Islands Civil Service College. His sons are Preston, 8, and Pierce, 7.
Stock was the fastest civil servant in the Credit Union 5K last week, 10th overall in 21 minutes, 8 seconds, and he is extremely proud of that.
He did not intend to enter the race, but a work colleague insisted he should.
“The night before was when I realized there would be a prize for the fastest civil servant, and at that moment I knew it was something I had to do and that I had to run my fastest time ever for a 5K,” Stock said.
“It was important because I thought it would bring my races and fundraising to light and also give me something concrete to hang my hat on.”
The week before, Stock was third at the Fidelity Fun Run Series for his age group, having run three consecutive two-mile races in progressively faster times.
He said that it is “nearly impossible sometimes” to juggle all his daily duties. “However, the great joy is knowing that whatever I do will impact my sons’ lives in either a small or large way.”
He added, “Since they live with me full-time and get 100 percent of my attention, they can be a bit demanding, but I always try and keep things in perspective.”
After completing the Credit Union 5K, Preston asked how he did when he got home. “I showed him the trophy and said while I wasn’t the fastest overall, the younger people beat me, I was the fastest civil servant. He replied: ‘That’s awesome, my dad is the fastest government employee. I want to be just like you when I grow up.’”
David Dinner, Cayman Heart Fund chairman, said, “We appreciate David’s efforts to raise funds for this worthy cause.
“The HSA’s new ambulance will be a benefit to all in the community, whether or not they have been affected by cardiovascular disease.
“To date we have raised over $43,000 towards our goal of raising roughly $125,000. With David’s races, we hope to get even closer to our goal and be in a position to buy the ambulance in the next six to eight months.”
For more information, go to caymanrunner.weebly.com, where there is a link to donate directly to the Cayman Heart Fund.