June 13, 2021

Cayman Islands Kerri Kanuga is back on the fundraising trail

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FullSizeRenderKerri Kanuga is back on the fundraising trail this Summer on behalf of the St Baldrick’s Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research. Kerri kicks off her efforts on May 21 with the Key100 ultra-marathon, a 100 mile race starting in Key Largo and finishing at Higgs Beach on the Atlantic Ocean in Key West. Kerri was 10th woman overall in last year’s Keys100 race with a time of 25 hours, 34 minutes, 45 seconds. Her goal this weekend is to break 24 hours.

Though the Keys100 would be more race than most can handle, this is just a training run for Kanuga. On July 18th she will participate in Badwater, the world’s toughest foot race spanning 3 mountain ranges across 135 miles through Death Valley, the hottest place on earth during the hottest month. To earn her place at Badwater Kerri had to qualify with
three 100 mile race finishes which included Brazil’s “160+Ultra” in January this year where Kerri represented the Cayman Islands and covered 250 kilometres, (6 marathons back to back) with an accumulated elevation of over 35,000 ft (Everest is lower at 29,028). Kerri completed the 160+ Ultra in 61 hours and 10 minutes. Kerri subsequently applied for and won a much coveted place in the Badwater line up and will be 1 of only 100 runners, and 1 of only 25 women. Her crew for Badwater includes Ultra Marathon legend Lisa Smith- Batchen and nun, Sister Mary Beth.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 12.15.55 PM“ To even be considered for the world’s toughest foot race is an honour. I am astounded by the fact that I am able to complete and improve as a long distance runner at age 46 and I have never felt stronger in my life”, said Ms Kanuga. “ Ultra running keeps me focused on my goals. I have so much gratitude that my body can run at this level and I am very happy that my sport allows me to give back and raise money and awareness for St Baldrick’s”.

Kerri is running the Keys100 and Badwater to honour Hannah Meeson who has been bravely battling Medulloblastoma since 2012. Though Hannah currently has no evidence of disease, brutal treatment has left her unable to walk unassisted and with cognitive and hearing difficulties.

“Hannah is a beautiful, brave little girl who was simply given a bad hand”, said Ms Kanuga. “ I know that if I experience discomfort when I train I can stop. These kids don’t have that luxury and it breaks my heart that they have to go through this”.

Heroes for Hannah is a hero fund of the St Baldrick’s Foundation and was established in
2013 to raise awareness and vital funds into childhood cancer research and to honour Hannah and other childhood cancer survivors in Cayman, including Skylar “Mimi” Ebanks, Tayden Grant, Beau Shields, Annabel Reading and Charlie Foster.

“St. Baldrick’s is a wonderful organization, they only fund paediatric cancer research and

they do it well,” said Gaylene Meeson, Hannah’s mother. “We are delighted that Kerri has chosen our hero fund, Heroes for Hannah as her inspiration and motivation to complete such gruelling challenges”.

IMG_8731Like so many of us, Kerri has been affected by cancer, losing many friends and family members including her father in 2013. Before meeting Hannah, Kerri knew very little about childhood cancer and was shocked by the statistics surrounding the lack of funding and research and the debilitating side effects of current treatments for children. Hannah and her family have inspired Kerri to combine her passion for life and her love of endurance sports, to raise much needed funds and awareness.

Since 2014 Kerri Kanuga has raised over $33,000 to support the Heroes for Hannah Fund for the St Baldrick’s Foundation and help conquer childhood cancers. Many will recall her Ker-a-thon in February 2015 when she spent her 45th birthday weekend swimming 6 miles across the North Sound before embarking on a 106 mile run around Grand Cayman, raising over US $27,000 for childhood cancer research.

Kerri hopes that her efforts will aid research into preventing the life long damage that results from surgeries, radiation and chemotherapies given while young bodies and brains are just developing.

To support Kerri’s fundraising efforts in the Keys100 and Badwater visit www.stbaldricks.org/fundraisers/kerathon2016
For further information about The St Baldrick’s Foundation and Heroes for Hannah Hero
Fund, visit www.stbaldricks.org and www.facebook.com/HeroesforHannah

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