Former Cayman 27 reporter Kevin Watler recently recovered from open heart surgery. Now, he is urging people to support efforts to raise funds to buy a new ambulance for the Cayman Islands.
Mr. Watler is a member of the Cayman Heart Fund which is fundraising for the ambulance.
The Heart Fund has already raised $50,000 to go toward the purchase of the vehicle which will replace one of the Health Services Authority’s aging ambulances. The upcoming Deputy Governor’s 5K Challenge aims to raise the same amount, to help the charity get closer to its target of $150,000.
The goal is to purchase the ambulance, which will be a new back-up vehicle for the Health Services Authority, by Christmas.
“Many of us will end up using an ambulance at some point in our lives,” Mr. Watler said in a press release. “So, if we all work together and buy one, it will save many lives.”
Mr. Watler’s personal health journey has underscored for him the importance of having such an ambulance available on island.
In 2013, when he was 26 years old, Mr. Watler was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy after suffering chest pains and palpitations. This complex heart disease is the most common cause of sudden cardiac death in people under the age of 20 and affects approximately one in 500 people in the United States.
In April 2013, Mr. Watler had an operation to implant a small electronic device into his chest to help prevent sudden death from cardiac arrest due to abnormally fast heart rhythms.
Later, as his chest pains and palpitations continued, it was recommended that he have a surgical procedure called septal myectomy, which involves removing a portion of the septum of the heart that can obstruct the flow of blood to the aorta.
Mr. Watler successfully underwent that surgery last year in Ohio, and was back to work as a communications specialist in Florida in three months.
Mr. Watler worked at Cayman 27 for seven years. Although he is now based in the United States, he continues to support the Cayman Heart Fund, which he joined when he became sick, and manages the charity’s website and social media.
The 2016 Deputy Governor’s 5K Challenge takes place in Cayman Brac on Sunday, April 17 and in Grand Cayman on Sunday, April 24, at 6:30 a.m. on both dates. The walk/run is suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels.
Registration for the challenge will be held in Grand Cayman at the Government Administration Building on April 7, 8, 14 and 15 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on April 21 and 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In Cayman Brac, registration will be in the District Administration Building on April 7, 8, 14 and 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Entry fees are $20 for ages 14 and older, and $10 for children 13 and younger. Limited edition 2016 DG’s 5K Challenge T-shirts are available at registration on a first-come, first-served basis.
Registration forms are also available in the lobbies of the District Administration Building in Cayman Brac and the Government Administration Building in Grand Cayman, via email on [email protected], or can be downloaded at www.odg.gov.ky/DG5K.