Having run six marathons worldwide and raised more than $1 million for Cayman HospiceCare in 2014, Derek Haines is now setting his sights even higher: He’ll climb three mountains in Bolivia and run two marathons this year in his effort to raise at least another $1 million for Have a Heart Cayman Islands.
The Have a Heart Cayman Islands charity, in partnership with Health City Cayman Islands, facilitates life-saving cardiac procedures for children throughout the Caribbean and the world.
Haines recently visited Health City with members of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman and met with several children whose travel to Cayman and urgent heart surgery were funded by the Rotary Club.
“As you can imagine, this was a very emotional meeting,” Haines said. “When asked if I would head up a fundraising effort [for the Have a Heart Cayman Islands charity] to enable more children to benefit, I had no hesitation in agreeing.
“This is an exciting challenge that will push me to the limits, but I am sure that I and my fellow participants are up to it,” Haines said. “This represents another huge fundraiser for a fairly small population, but the generosity of the Cayman community has shone through year after year, and I am very grateful for the continued support.”
Haines, 67, supported by Governor Helen Kilpatrick and the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, has already started his campaign. On Feb. 21, he ran the 50K ultra-marathon, Off the Beaten Track.
“It was the longest and toughest race I have been in thus far,” said Haines, who finished in 7:25:38.
Next up, Haines will travel with Mike Burcombe and Vico Testori to Bolivia where they will hike three peaks with a combined height of 57,285 feet. He will head to Cuba in November for the Havana Marathon and then finish up the challenge with the Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon in December.
In support of Haines’s efforts, fellow Rotarians Chris Bailey and Shane Delaney will enter separate Ironman triathlons. Bailey will travel to Ironman Wisconsin in July, and Daley will compete in Barcelona, Spain, in October.
Bailey’s wife Kym will run with Haines in Havana.
The governor thanked Haines “for his selflessness for undertaking this challenge and his passion for always wanting to help. I wish both him and the team the very, very best.”
All travel-related expenses and registration fees are paid by the participants, and 100 percent of the money raised will go directly to Have a Heart Cayman Islands.
A bank account for the fundraiser will be opened by Chris Johnson, Rotary Club treasurer and past president.
“I think it is very important for donors to understand that 100 percent of donations will be used to help the children in need of this life-saving project,” Haines said.
For more information on the challenge and how to donate, visit www.MM4HH.com.