Charity kiteboarders hit $200,000 target

Biggest single donation to Cayman Islands Cancer Society

Amy Strzalko presents race winner Andre Slabbert with his trophy. – Photos: JULIE CORSETTI

After completing an epic 82-mile ocean crossing from Little Cayman to Grand Cayman, kiteboarders are celebrating another major milestone – hitting their $200,000 fundraising target.

A charity auction and awards night, held last week, combined with some late donations took them over the edge.

The money will go to the Cayman Islands Cancer Society and is the biggest single donation the local charity has ever received.

Jennifer Weber, operations manager for the charity, said it would be enough to fund the charity’s financial aid programme for cancer sufferers for half a year. The charity helps pay for treatment, flights and accommodation for more than 400 people with cancer in the Cayman Islands. It relies entirely on fundraising and donations.

“It is amazing they could raise so much. God bless them,” she said.

A group of 16 kiteboarders and support crews took part in the ‘Kite 4 Cancer’ event, which challenged individuals and teams to make the crossing from Little to Grand Cayman and raise money for charity.

Amy Strzalko, one of the organisers, said it was an amazing feeling to meet the $200,000 target.

“We set a high target, and we are so excited to hit our goal.”

Kiteboarders brave large swells to complete an epic ocean crossing from Little Cayman. – PHOTO: ERIC VAGNIEZ

She said kiteboarding from Little Cayman to Grand Cayman was a great achievement, but raising so much money in the process was arguably an even bigger accomplishment.

An auction and awards night at Abacus last week helped them hit the $200K target.

A kiteboard designed by Guy Harvey sold for more than $5,000 on the night. Other boards with custom designs painted by Hannah Cook and David Bridgeman, Heather Holt and Morgan Olley sold for several thousand dollars.

The Estera Little Grand Race itself was won by Andre Slabbert, who set a course record of five-and-a-half hours.

Strzalko said the group plans to host the race every three years. A shorter ‘downwinder’ race from East End to Rum Point is planned as a smaller annual fundraiser.

Team Groms, Louis Vagniez, Jake Serpell and Oskar Bjuroe completed the 82-mile crossing as a relay team.