June 14, 2021

Cayman Islands realtor’s ultimate challenge for childhood cancer research

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Kerri Kanuga – Badwater, The Toughest Foot Race on Earth.

image003GEORGE TOWN, GRAND CAYMAN, 11 July 2016. Local real estate agent and ultra marathon runner Kerri Kanuga will undertake her biggest endurance challenge to date this month in aid of childhood cancer research and the St Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest non government funder of childhood cancer research. On Monday 18 July Kerri will set out to complete Badwater, the most demanding and extreme running race on earth, covering 135 miles non stop from Death Valley across three mountain ranges to Mount Whitney. Temperatures in Death Valley, the hottest place on earth, reached a record breaking 126 degrees last month and hotter temperatures are expected in July.

Kerri will be 1 of only 100 runners, and 1 of only 25 women participating in the “World’s Toughest Foot Race”. Her crew for Badwater includes Ultra Marathon legend Lisa Smith-Batchen a nun, Sister Mary Beth and crew guru Ernie Rambo. The course must be completed within 48 hours though Kerri has her sights set on finishing within 36 hours.

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 8.00.52 AMTo earn her much coveted 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, equal to 6 back to back marathons with an accumulated elevation of approximately 50,000 feet (Everest is 29,028). Kerri completed the 160+ Ultra in 61 hours and 10 minutes.

Kerri has undertaken an intensive training regime to prepare for next week’s race including Cayman’s Off the Beaten Track 50k ultramarathon and training with “Tyrone” the nickname she gave to the tire she is often seen pulling along the roads of Cayman. Kerri also placed 18th overall and 7th in the female category at the Keys100 Ultramarathon in May of this year, which she used as a “training run” for Badwater completing the 100 mile race inside 24 hours. The conditions of the race were grueling with only 80 of 153 registered runners finishing, due to heat exhaustion.

“ To be considered for Badwater is an honour and I am astounded by the fact that I am able to compete and improve as a long distance runner. Happily, I have never felt stronger in my life”, said Ms Kanuga. “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”.

thumb up2Kerri has been affected by cancer, losing many friends and family members including her father in 2013 and was inspired to raise funds for Hannah’s Heroes and the St Baldrick’s Foundation through endurance running when she met Cayman born Hannah Meeson. Hannah was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a type of brain cancer in 2012, aged 4. 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 the other childhood cancer survivors in Cayman have inspired Kerri to combine her passion for life and her love of endurance sports, to raise much needed funds and awareness.

“Kerri is a true childhood cancer hero and we are in awe of her strength and determination. We are thrilled that Kerri has chosen St Baldrick’s and our hero fund, as her inspiration to compete. She will change the lives of all children fighting cancer with each step she takes during Badwater”, shared Gaylene Meeson, Hannah’s mother.

Hannah’s Heroes 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.

Since 2014 Kerri Kanuga has raised over $33,000 to support the Hannah’s Heroes fund for the St Baldrick’s Foundation and help conquer childhood cancers. 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 Badwater, the toughest footrace on earth, visit www.stbaldricks.org/fundraisers/kerathon2016

For further information about The St Baldrick’s Foundation and Hannah’s Heroes please visit www.facebook/stbaldrickshannahsheroes

IMAGES:

Kerri and “Tyrone” the training tyre
Kerri completes the penultimate leg of the Brazil 160+ Ultra January 2016
Kerri and Hannah Meeson

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