Back in June, Cayman HospiceCare broke ground on its future home, a dedicated facility for dignified, end-of-life care on a 1.15 acre lot donated by the Dart group.
When completed, the facility will mark a new chapter for Cayman HospiceCare, which has been making an impact on the community for more than 20 years by offering comfortable care, free of charge, to those living with chronic or end-stage terminal disease.
Cayman HospiceCare’s story started in 1996 when Tim Shea, a young Irish attorney with the law firm Hunter & Hunter, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Shea’s wish was to leave hospital and spend his final days at home, a wish that his friends helped to grant by arranging for him to receive round-the-clock care by two local nurses, who volunteered their time. Following Shea’s death, Cayman HospiceCare was born with the goal of making end-of-life care free and available to all those living in the Cayman Islands.
Over the years, the organisation grew from one nurse and one caregiver based out of Hospice Cottage and later Conch Shell House, to the current roster of one part-time and three full-time nurses, two full-time caregivers, an administrator and a fundraising and operations manager. The new facility, scheduled for completion in summer 2018, will include a four-bed respite facility and administrative offices.
Reaching the beginning of the construction phase was a culmination of a vast amount of work, support and fundraising by the local community, including the extraordinary efforts of one man in particular — Dart Enterprises’ Senior Manager of Security and Community Relations Derek Haines.
Over drinks in a pub one evening, Haines, then 65 years old, was challenged by a group of friends to raise more than $1 million to fund the building of the new HospiceCare site. Over 2014, in one of the most successful private fundraising efforts in Cayman Islands history, Haines completed six marathons to surpass expectations and raise CI$1.35 million for the new facility. Starting with the Paris Marathon in early April, he then went on to run in London, Spain, San Francisco and Dublin, before finishing his feat in the Cayman Islands Marathon in December.
Haines had plenty of backing from the corporate, sporting and social community and his efforts led him to become the single-biggest fundraiser for Cayman HospiceCare. The benefits of Haines’s effort went beyond funding, as it also helped to raise awareness of the service HospiceCare provides.
“Although death is a subject that touches us all at some point, it still remains a topic that many people will go to great lengths to avoid talking about,” says Haines. “However, as the recent ground breaking of the new HospiceCare facility has shown, death can also provide some of the most uplifting stories of kindness, strength and the extraordinary power of the human spirit.”
Following Haines’s extraordinary fundraising efforts, Dart agreed in 2015 to donate land to Cayman HospiceCare, rent free, on which to build its new facility. Local architect John Doak also agreed to provide the designs for the building free of charge.
One of the people at the ceremonial ground breaking in June was Dart Enterprises VP of Community Development Chris Duggan, who has a close personal connection to Cayman HospiceCare. Duggan’s late father, Nick, was a friend of Shea and helped organise his care in his final days. Duggan’s mother, Jeannette, was one of the nurses who volunteered to work with Shea. Years later, Nick Duggan himself would become a patient of Cayman HospiceCare before his death in 2006. Chris Duggan later joined the board of Cayman HospiceCare and has served as its chairman for the last four years.
At the ground breaking, a memorial box filled with the names of former Hospice patients was buried on the site.
“We really wanted those patients who formed the foundations of Cayman HospiceCare to be memorialised in the actual foundations of the new building, which will undoubtedly go on to serve individuals and their families within our community for many decades to come,” Duggan says.