The Stride Against Cancer on Jan. 31, the walk/run of varying distances in four locales in the Cayman Islands, is one of the biggest fundraising events for the Cayman Islands Cancer Society, and organizers are urging participants to come out and support the cause.
“Most people feel a strong sense of purpose and community when they participate in this event,” said Cancer Society Operations Manager Jennifer Weber. “It’s a fun but meaningful event you do with and for the people you love.”
Last year, more than 1,500 participants turned out, and Ms. Weber hopes to top that, with 2,000 people participating this year, though “right now we have 69 registrants, so we have a long way to go.”
The money raised by Stride covers a significant portion of the total amount required to cover patients’ financial aid. In addition, Stride is an opportunity for the community to come together, Ms. Weber said.
“We need the financial support, of course, but more than anything we want to have a huge show of community support, so [we] want as many people as possible to join the fight against cancer in some public way on Jan. 31.”
Lise Hurlstone has been participating in Stride since 2012, when she walked for her mother who had been diagnosed with a rare cancer 18 months earlier. The next day, her mother passed away.
“I have walked for her every year since,” Ms. Hurlstone said.
She said Stride is a great way to raise awareness about how many lives locally are affected by cancer, and to “share the understanding that others are going through or have gone through similar experiences.” Ms. Hurlstone said she feels empowered by the event.
“The Cancer Society’s programming is so worthwhile for all of the public education and assistance they provide to individuals and families who may be in need of a little extra support during a tough time,” Ms. Hurlstone said. “You never know when you might find yourself or someone you love in need of that support, too.”
Health Services Authority CEO Lizzette Yearwood is also a longtime supporter of Stride.
She “strides” in memory of her mother, and to say thanks to the Cancer Society.
“The Cayman Islands Cancer Society was an immense support to my family and I during my mom’s battle with cancer,” she said. “I will be forever grateful to [those] who reached out to me … to offer assistance even when I didn’t know what resources were available through the Cancer Society.”
Connie Godet, who helped organize Stride in the Brac for several years before recently moving to Grand Cayman, noted, “You never know who it is going to hit next and it may be your or your family member who may be going to the Cancer Society for help.”
Ms. Godet, like many others, writes the names of those she is striding for on the T-shirt every participant receives. She said she has to write small, as she strides for several family members who did not survive their battles with cancer, and also, as a breast cancer survivor, she is striding for herself.
Ms. Godet said she not only thinks about her personal battle with the disease as she runs, but she also reflects on the many others affected by cancer.
“The Cancer Society helps a tremendous amount of people who would otherwise maybe not make it,” she said.
To register, visit www.cics.ky/index.php/Events/stride-2016.
Where to Stride
Walkers and runners can take part at four locales across the Cayman Islands:
Seven Mile Beach Half Marathon, 13.1 mile timed race, starts at 6 a.m. at Public Beach on West Bay Road. The out-and-back course goes through George Town and along South Church Street. Caribbean Paradise on South Sound Road is the turn-around point.
Seven Mile Beach Quarter-Marathon Walk/Run, 6.5 miles, starts at 7 a.m. at Public Beach, continues along West Bay Road, with the Wharf restaurant as the turn-around point.
North Side Stride, about 6 miles, starts at 7 a.m. from the boat launch next to Over the Edge, ending at Kaibo. Transport back to the boat launch provided.
Little Cayman Stride, 7 a.m. starts from the Southern Cross Club.
Cayman Brac Stride, 7 a.m., from the Alexander Hotel to the Brac Beach Resort.
A $25 early bird registration is available before midnight Sunday, Jan. 17, with entry into a draw for prizes, including Cayman Airways tickets. Registration afterwards is $30.
In a new corporate challenge, the company with the most participants will win a free lunch.
Additional corporate sponsors are still needed for the event. Opportunities include becoming a $250 banner sponsor, paying the registration fee for their employees, or sending volunteers to help out at the event.