PRESENTATION: Andrew Higgs, event coordinator, presents Cancer Society of the Bahamas founder Susan Roberts with monies raised f
OVERWHELMED by the donations and efforts of participants and supporters, Andrew Higgs, son of Olympic medalist Monty Higgs, presented the Cancer Society of the Bahamas with a cheque for $55,000 yesterday.
The grueling 32-mile kayak started out as Mr Andrew Higgs' desire to honour his father's memory, however to his surprise, it grew to 18 people kayaking from Exuma to Nassau and countless others donating time and money.
Andrew Higgs said: "I originally was just going to do this on my own and I spread the word out to a couple of friends and it just grew and grew.
"The support was overwhelming, I never even imagined that we'd come close to what we've made for the Cancer Society. It's been overwhelming."
In 2004, Monty Higgs, with his brother Peter Higgs, and Dave Meller set out on a kayaking trip from George Town, Exuma to Ship Channel Cay, Exuma.
The trio had intended to kayak to New Providence from Ship Channel, but due to inclement they were unable to complete the final leg.
Monty was described by family members as a man who was a competitive swimmer, an accomplished spear fisherman, an avid angler, a naval quartermaster, a skipper in the Bahamas' yacht squadron, an Olympic crew for the Bahamas in the Star Class, a boatman par excellence, a commodore of the Royal Nassau Sailing Club and most recently a proud kayak builder and paddler.
In August, Andrew Higgs set out to finish the final leg for his father who was diagnosed with leukemia and subsequently died from the disease before he could complete the feat.
The money raised by their efforts will prove an immense benefit to the over 30-year-old non-profit organization which provides numerous support programs for cancer patients and survivors.
Namely, the Cancer Caring Facility, a ten-room facility which provides residence and care for family-island cancer patients who are in New Providence for treatment.
Mrs Susan Roberts, founder of the society and its treasurer, said: "It's so important because that's the only way we exist, by other people's generosity.
"Especially for the Cancer Caring Facility, the rooms are full all the time so we need funding - the patients don't pay to stay here - and we need the funding to take care of and run the facility.
"To take as good care of them as we can."