Haines ends marathon year with boost to CCMI

| 08/12/2017
CNS Local Life

Derek Haines (second from left) greeted at the finish line of the marathon by (L-R) Tom Sparke, Beth Chafin and Robyn Larkin of CCMI

(CNS Local Life): Derek Haines, Cayman’s remarkable fundraiser, completed a year of raising money for the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) by taking part in the Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon Sunday, 3 December. He ended his 2017 “Volcanoes and Marathons” challenge by running 26.2 miles as part of his goal to raise $50,000 to support CCMI’s new education programme, Reefs Go Live.

Haines loves supporting education about the oceans and coral reefs, stated a CCMI press release, adding he feels Reefs Go Live will provide a unique opportunity to engage students in the research being done in Little Cayman. The programme, which is set to launch in 2018, will take students on a virtual dive on a coral reef, showing real-time footage as well as researchers working at the coral nursery, tagging fish and more. Students will be able to ask questions during the live broadcast, and the scientists can reply while underwater through high-tech facemasks and streaming equipment.

In addition to the Cayman Islands Marathon, Haines (69), ran marathons in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala (April), and San Francisco (July). In June, he completed the volcanoes portion of his challenge, travelling to Guatemala to climb Pacaya (8,373 feet) and Acatenango (13,044 feet).

Haines acknowledged it’s not easy to finish 26.2 miles. “At the end of a marathon, I’m usually elated to be still alive. But seriously it can be quite emotional especially when so many folks turn out to cheer you home and support around the course,” he said in the press release.

“And to be able to raise money for causes that are important, well the trust that has been put in me by the donors/sponsors is remarkable and the generosity year after year is incredible. Seeing all of that come together certainly builds a huge sense of purpose.”

CCMI president Dr Carrie Manfrino said she is very appreciative of Haines’ fundraising efforts, as well as those of Chris Bailey – who completed the Ironman Florida in November – and other members of the Rotary Club Grand Cayman:

“Derek has achieved the most remarkable feats this year. His physical efforts and his vision to help launch the Reefs Go live project demonstrate his incredible commitment to the local community and to the world,” Manfrino said.

“Derek helped raise the profile of Reefs Go Live and will forever be remembered for helping establish this important programme.”

Manfrino added thanks to Butterfield Bank and managing director Mike McWatt, for coming on board as the headline sponsor with a $15,000 donation. She also noted that Governor Helen Kilpatrick has continuously supported CCMI, thanking her for her patronage of Haines’ efforts this year.

“We have begun testing the Reefs Go Live equipment and will be running a pilot live to schools beginning in January 2018,” Manfrino said. “Being able to communicate our work from the ocean, directly to the classrooms is a stunning advancement in teaching methodology and we will being to impact local students so that every child can be ocean literate.”

All money raised by Haines and Bailey for this challenge go directly to Reefs Go Live, with the costs of travel, race fees and training covered by the athletes themselves.

The official January 2018 launch will be part of kick-off celebrations for International Year of the Reef. CCMI is planning a number of educational awareness initiatives and citizen scientist opportunities to help those in the Cayman Islands learn more about the importance of coral reefs to their island home.

While Reefs Go Live will initially be launched in the Cayman Islands, plans include sharing this experience with teachers and students around the world. The programme allows for those who may never see a coral reef to have the chance to see one live during broadcasts in their classrooms or at a museum or science centre.

Haines has thus far raised $40,000 towards his goal. Anyone wishing to contribute to his fundraising can send a cheque to the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, with CCMI in the memo line.

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Category: Community, Donations, Running

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