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Wednesday September 11, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday September 11, 2013 MYT 10:08:33 AM
by yasmin ahmad kamilphotos by azlina abdullah
ZED Chan, a 28-year-old web programmer, is testament that you can give back to society and simultaneously do what you love.
The Perak native is running 160km during the “Craze Ultramarathon” to be held in Singapore on Sept 21 and 22, to raise funds for children with glaucoma.
Ultra-marathons, a running event that stretches beyond the traditional marathon distance, sees participants engaging in a run that exceeds 42km.
After a brush with non-profit organisation Save Ones Sight Missions (SOSM) two years ago, Chan decided that he could help them fulfil their needs — through running.
Glaucoma, a disease of the optic nerve, causes blind spots to occur in one’s vision that leads to vision loss.
“The organisation has four kids under their care,” said Chan, adding that they were from poor families.
The children include an 11-year-old spastic and deaf girl, a 22-month baby girl and two seven-year-old boys.
“All were born with glaucoma, excluding the spastic girl who developed it, resulting from medical treatments administered since birth.
According to Chan, minor surgery and treatment costs range between RM2,000 and RM6,000.
He turned to social media to let others know of his fundraising goal and the reason behind it.
“Three years ago, I was helping my friend who was running to raise funds for children with glaucoma.
“It was a five-kilometre run where he was blindfolded and I was his guide,” he said, adding that it was how he first came to know about glaucoma,” said Chan.
Chan’s passion for running marathons was sparked six years ago.
“My friend encouraged me to join the Ipoh Starwalk six years ago, where we walked 10km,” he said.
From that moment onwards, he began participating in marathons, completing 10km runs, half-marathons and three years later, full marathons.
“This will be my first time doing an ultra-marathon,” said Chan.
Other than his friend, the late Canadian cancer research activist Terry Fox also inspired him to run the gruelling race.
A check on 2012’s Craze Runner’s 100 miles (160km) results showed a high number of participants who did not complete the race. Runners who did finish took between 22 and 31 hours.
“The nervousness has not kicked in yet,” said Chan.
“It usually does when I’m at the starting point.”
To date, he has collected RM700. He hopes to collect more, adding that 100% of the funds raised would go directly to SOSM to support children with glaucoma.
For details, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.facebook.com/zedchan
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Central Region, Family & Community, Zed Chan, Ultra-marathon, Craze Ultramarathon, Running, Charity
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