After fighting cancer for the past three and a half months, Derek Larner has passed away. His battle against the world’s deadliest genetic disease reached it’s end on Wednesday (6 January) and was soon followed by an overwhelming amount of tributes throughout social media.
Owner of Revolutions Indoor Cycling Jerome Ameline, shared a photo of himself, Larner and Cayman Islands Olympian Brett Fraser with the caption stating, “Collect moments, not things. I didn’t collect too many moments with you Derek, but the few we had were great! My condolences to you Laura (Larner’s Wife).”
Larner was known to wear many caps within the Cayman Islands; being the national distance coach for the better part of 9 years. The president of 345 Athletics, a former member of the Cayman Islands Cadet Corps and most recently the Cayman Islands Regiment.
Kiara McLaughlin, someone who was able to attend several track and field junior meets including the CARIFTA Games under the guidance of Larner also took to social media hours after his passing. “My heart hurts so much. [Rest in peace] to my second father, someone who saw nothing but potential in me. Coach this hits hard but your name will forever live on.”
The Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association was one of several organisations to issue a statement publicly. “We were saddened to hear today of the untimely passing of Derek Larner of 345 Athletic Club. He was an ambassador for all of Cayman’s athletes and will be sadly missed by all.”
Friends, family and organisations continue to post tributes on various platforms for the man many considered to be a warrior, coach, mentor, father, leader and one of “life’s good guys”.
In addition, Larner was recently honoured during a walk on 7-Mile Public Beach in December. The Organiser of that event Chris Bailey, told Cay 03 Sports at the time that he plans to host a half marathon & relay event in honor of Larner in March.
The Cayman Islands Cancer Society (CICS) will also honour Larner by dedicating this year’s Stride Against Cancer to him.
“Derek was an integral part of our Stride walk/run every year and we can’t imagine Stride without him,” stating on the CICS Facebook page. “Therefore, in an effort to honor all Derek did to help others in Cayman, CICS is dedicating the Sunday Jan 31st Stride Against Cancer 2021 to Derek Larner. Stride participants are encouraged to write the name of the person they are Stride in honor or in memory of someone they care about on the back of their Stride shirts. So we expect many will choose to write Derek’s name this year. Purple is the awareness ribbon color for pancreatic cancer, so can’t help but think of Derek this year as we look at the purple runner in the Stride logo.”