Over 300 people attended “A Walk for Derek” at 7-Mile Public Beach Monday (21 December) evening. The event was held in support of Cayman’s distance coach Derek Larner who is currently battling cancer (Adenocarcinoma).
“Within 24 hours, over 300 people had registered for the event and more than that showed up on the day,” said event organiser Chris Bailey.
“Derek has many friends closer than I to him but as a fellow event organiser and good friend with Trevour [Murphy] we knew we had to do something that would lift his spirits at a crucial time.”
Family and friends gathered at 7-Mile Public Beach, taking a stroll to Governors Beach and back with candles and flash lights.
Larner, who is currently with his daughter Scarlet and Wife Laura Larner receiving treatment in New York, took to Facebook one day after the event thanking all those rooting for him during his fight against cancer.
“Thanks to everybody for the amazing, humbling and quite frankly astonishing support,” Larner’s post stated. “From the running and sporting community, my close friends, the athletes [I] have coached, the Cayman Islands Regiment, and former members of the Cayman Islands Cadet Corps. This event and turnout means a heck of a lot to me and will stay with me until the end.”
Larner also gave an update on his health status since initially being diagnose in October.
“After two serious surgeries leaving my body much weaker than before…it was determined by the doctors that my body is not strong enough for more treatment,” Larner wrote. “The body will try to get stronger but each day the cancer will grow too.”
Bailey who has known Larner for the past eight years described his long time friend with high regards.
“Derek to me is an encourager, a do’er, an entrepreneur, a passionate man with massive amounts of energy and one of life’s good guys,” said Bailey. “Our island needs people like Derek as he creates a community we can thrive in, an outlet for our energies and a provider of introductions, friendships and relationships.”
Bailey hopes to honour Larner again in March 2021. He told Cay 03 Sports, the plan is to have a half marathon & relay event in his honor with details to follow early in the new year.