Stay-Focused, the New York-based scuba training and leadership development charity for teenagers with physical disabilities, hosts the fourth annual Push Across Cayman meal at Ortanique restaurant, and a six-hour, family-friendly “Push” this weekend.

According to Roger Muller, the charity’s founder and president, the 7 p.m. dinner on Saturday at Ortanique in Camana Bay, will include a welcome drink, passed canapés, and a sumptuous two-course meal. The meal will be followed by an hour-long set by Grammy Award-winning country star Paul Overstreet and singer/songwriter Mike Loudermilk.

Tickets for the $200 per head dining event are limited, but were available at press time from [email protected]

Push Across Cayman

This year’s Push Across Cayman begins at 6 a.m. Sunday on Market Street in Camana Bay. The grueling 55-mile course will see Stay-Focused alumni Ryan Chalmers, Mary Kate Callahan and Arielle Rausin working together to complete the “Push” in six hours. Although there is a competitive edge to the event, organizers encourage local cyclists to join the Push at any stretch of the route. Inspired by his earlier Push events in Cayman in 2012, Mr.. Chalmers successfully completed the inaugural Push Across America for Stay-Focused in 2013.

The Stay-Focused Push Across Cayman 2015 team, from left, Susannah Scaroni, Tatyana McFadden, Brian Siemann, Roger Muller, Ryan Chalmers and Aaron Tike.
The Stay-Focused Push Across Cayman 2015 team, from left, Susannah Scaroni, Tatyana McFadden, Brian Siemann, Roger Muller, Ryan Chalmers and Aaron Tike.

Mr. Chalmers, a director of Stay-Focused, said the Push is designed to celebrate the achievements of young, physically challenged individuals in all communities. He is hoping for strong supporter turnout as in previous years.

“It’s great to be back in Cayman for my fourth Push Across Cayman. For me, the best part is making the school visits in the week leading up to the Push and having the kids greet us at the finish line,” he said.

Of the other Stay-Focused athletes, Ms.. Callahan is a junior at the University of Arizona and majors in psychology. A competitor in last year’s World Championships and the Ironman in Kentucky, she learned to dive with Stay-Focused in 2012.

Ms. Rausin, a University of Illinois business management senior, pushed 60 miles in Florida last December to raise money for Stay-Focused. She learned to dive with the charity two years ago.

Starting in Camana Bay, Push Across Cayman will head up through Bodden Town, then Breakers to North Side and into East End before going back through Bodden Town and heading back to Camana Bay at around noon.

Ryan Chalmers signs the T-shirt of a young fan.
Ryan Chalmers signs the T-shirt of a young fan.

School visits

In the days leading up to the charity’s signature events, the Stay-Focused athletes visited Clifton Hunter High School, Cayman Prep (primary and high schools), Montessori by the Sea, Red Bay Primary, Hope Academy, George Town Primary and Cayman International School to promote the road race and the program’s aims.

Speaking on the eve of the six-hour road race, Ms. Rausin said, “I am very excited to participate in my first Push Across Cayman. The island is such a beautiful place – pushing across Cayman to raise awareness for a charity I care about deeply is a dream come true.

“My hope is more people will learn about the potential of those with disabilities either demonstrated through our accomplishments in wheelchair racing or scuba diving. The more we are recognized for what we can do instead of what we can’t do, the more opportunities will exist for us to prove our strengths.”

Make a day of it

Dart, the event’s main sponsor, is organizing activities for children to take part in while waiting for the athletes to complete the race. From 10 a.m. to noon, visitors will have the opportunity to take a short spin in the ergonomically designed racing chairs. The rides are free, but donations to Push are appreciated.

Children are also being encouraged to trick out their bikes and join the athletes on a victory lap around Camana Bay between noon and 12:30 p.m. Each athlete will choose a child to receive a prize from Camana Bay for the most eye-catching bicycle.

Chris Duggan, vice president of Dart Enterprises and head of Community Development, said, “Dart is delighted to continue our long-standing partnership with the Stay-Focused Group. These athletes are an inspiration to so many and we encourage everyone to come out to support them as they push across Grand Cayman. We look forward to welcoming them across the finish line at Camana Bay and celebrating the amazing work they do for all persons with disabilities.”

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