8-year-old donates birthday money to charity

Jake Fagan presents $200 to Lighthouse School students for the Special Olympics organization. - Photo: Jewel Levy

It was a heart-felt moment for 8-year-old Jake Fagan when he presented $200 to the Special Olympics organization at the Lighthouse School.

He was met with a warm reception when he visited the school on Sept. 27 to present the donation.

The Cayman Prep and High School student chose not to ask for presents this year. Instead he suggested that friends and parents contribute by donating the money to the Special Olympics.

“For my birthday I usually get a lot of toys and only play with them for a little bit … then I don’t need them anymore, so I thought it was better to give it to the Special Olympics organization,” he said.

Special Olympics Cayman Islands, or SOCI, is a nonprofit sports training program for athletes with intellectual disabilities ages 5 and older.

The donation was a winner, with a mixed team of Olympic athletes from the Lighthouse School’s young and adult athletics programs. They gave a big shout out and hugged Jake for his kindheartedness. Special Olympics Chairman Nick Freeland looked just as pleased and said it was outstanding to see a young boy stepping up like this.

Mr. Freeland also said that for a young man of Jake’s age to make that contribution, and to think about others, is really an example for others.

To raise the money, Jake, with the help of his parents and friends, hosted an Olympic-themed birthday party on South Sound beach. At the party the group sang the Cayman National Anthem and participated in 11 Olympic-style sporting events.

According to Mr. Freeland, the Special Olympics organization provides year-round training and competitions for athletes of all ages with learning disabilities.

“We give them a platform to improve their lives, health and ways to interact with each other,” he said.

In Cayman there are more than 100 Special Olympics athletes in training year-round in a number of programs, all of which still need the community’s support and more volunteers, he said.

“If anybody wants to helps us with raffle prizes, it will be greatly appreciated,” he said.
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Jake Fagan’s name has been corrected in this story. – Ed.