PETALING JAYA: Lawyer Datin Sue Ding (pic) will never forget the day, a few years ago, when one of her friends revealed to her that he was HIV positive.
Ding, who is based in London with her entrepreneur husband Datuk Francis Ong, said her friend tearfully confided in her that he had been HIV positive for about a decade and was sorry he never told her about his condition.
"I was worried you would stop being my friend. And I don't want you to hear this from somebody else," he said.
Moved by her friend's plight, Ding told him that she would always be there for him.
"I gave him the biggest hug and told him we were friends forever and ever. We are still friends today," said Ding who is currently in Malaysia for the Chinese New Year festivities.
Wanting to do something for people who are HIV positive and living with AIDS, Ding has signed up once again this year to participate in one of the world's toughest foot races to raise funds for the Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF).
The 43-year-old will be taking part in the punishing six-day, 250km Marathon des Sables (MdS) race across the Sahara desert this April.
Besides the MAF, she will also be raising funds for canine welfare project Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better (MDDB).
The property lawyer in London said the move was part of her New Year resolution to do more for the needy.
"One of my resolutions for this year is to be kinder in my thoughts, my speech, to do more to raise awareness about kindness and the importance of being kind," said Ding.
She added that animals, like humans, all needed love and deserved respect.
"Who is to decide who gets to live and die? It's not a decision for us to make, but it is for us to respect and learn. We are all here to live together, '' said Ding.
The first time Ding participated in the MdS was in 2018 to raise funds for MDDB and Make-A-Wish Malaysia.
She created history as the first Malaysian woman to participate in and complete the race.
She hopes to raise RM200,000 with this year's run, with the money to be shared equally by the two organisations that she is helping.
She said she hoped individuals and corporations would give generously in the spirit of Chinese New Year.
"Donate your ang pows for a good cause," said Ding, who is also in charge of corporate social responsibility in her husband's company in Britain.
To help Ding achieve her goal, please visit https://www.simplygiving.com/appeal/sueding2020.
Did you find this article insightful?