The Cayman Islands Cancer Society, MS Foundation of the Cayman Islands, and the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Association of the Cayman Islands will be this year’s recipients of funds raised by the annual Deputy Governor’s 5K Challenge.

Organisers announced this year’s beneficiaries and sponsors at a press conference on Tuesday.

Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said he hopes this year’s run/walk will raise at least $70,000, which will be shared among the three chosen charities.

Manderson, who leads the annual DG’s 5K Challenge, said, “Each year I think very carefully, I look to charities that are highly reputable and really make a difference in our islands.”

The DG 5K will be held across all three islands – on Sunday, 5 April on Cayman Brac; on Sunday, 19 April on Little Cayman; and on Sunday, 26 April on Grand Cayman.

“Fundraising from this year’s DG 5K Challenge will contribute to reducing instances of cancer and provide meaningful care and support for those who suffer serious and debilitating disease like MS, Alzheimer’s and dementia,” Manderson said.

Deputy Governor Franz Manderson crosses the finish line at last year’s DG 5K on Grand Cayman. – Photo: GIS

Charities welcome support

The Cancer Society indicated that the funds raised will be used to support its human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programme, which includes public education, and prevention and screening of cancers caused by HPV, such as cervical, ear, nose, and throat cancers.

Dr. Sook Yin, medical advocate for the Cancer Society, said that another aim of the HPV programme is to make sure all genders are getting vaccinated.

“We partnered with DG 5K funds this year to support the vaccine programme, so we can not only vaccinate the girls but the boys as well,” Yin said.

The MS Foundation said its portion of the funds will be used to support multiple sclerosis patients and their families.

Lisa Tatosian, senior board member of the MS Foundation, said the charity, which was set up four years ago, strives “to provide emotional and financial support to the patients that are on the island. We do this not only by helping them go to the doctor but we help with care-giving and therapy for the entire family. It’s actually one of the costliest diseases you can be diagnosed with.”

The Alzheimer’s and Dementia Association, which was founded in 2011 by Dorothy Davis, plans to use its portion of the funds to launch the Dementia Friends programme – an initiative to encourage Alzheimer’s and dementia patients to take part in activities to avoid sedentary lifestyles.

“We are working very hard to get rid of the stigma. We are taking baby steps, but it’s happening because people are talking more about the disease,” Davis said.

Appleby, the event’s platinum sponsor, has pledged a $15,000 donation.

Last year, the challenge raised $82,000 for the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, the Alex Panton Foundation, and the Special Needs Foundation Cayman.

“I encourage everyone living in the Cayman Islands to join us in April for as many of the three challenges as they can manage,” Manderson said. “Together, we really can help today and protect tomorrow.”

The DG 5K Challenge has raised more than $300,000 for charities over the last seven years.

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