5,000km, 50 days, 5 lands, for charity

57-year-old cyclist battles fatigue, tough terrain, heat, to raise funds for hospice

MORE than 5,000km later, after a journey spanning five countries, Mr Lim Wee Yin is home - with more than $200,000 in the bag for the Assisi Hospice.

The avid cyclist rides to work every day. But on April 28, he began a 50-day journey on two wheels from China to Singapore, starting from Guiyang.

The route took him across a range of tricky terrain such as hilly, undulating roads and steep ascents.

His endpoint: The hospice's annual Charity Fun Day, which took place yesterday at St Joseph's Institution International in Thomson Road.

Recounting his journey, the 57-year-old said he had to battle the heat, fend off potential robbers in sparsely populated areas and flee ferocious stray dogs which chased after him on his mountain bicycle. But he said he never once felt like giving up.

"I'm a keen cyclist and while age is catching up with me, the physical aspect of the journey was not as trying as the mental aspect," he said.

"I was travelling alone and I was worried for my safety at times. But I persevered because my thoughts were on each and every patient and their families, who strive to make the best of their lives despite the physical and emotional struggles of illness."

The director of production planning and control at a ST Kinetics subsidiary in China was joined on Friday by a team of 14 cyclists in Malacca, most of whom are employees from the hospice's corporate partner, Sembcorp Industries.

They cycled the last 270km to Singapore with him.

The group was welcomed at the annual carnival by the event's guest of honour, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck. The hospice's patron, Madam Ho Ching, was also present.

Said Ms Valerie Lee, 27, a Sembcorp employee who was part of the cycling team: "It was just two days but most of us are novices and we struggled with the haze, the scorching sun and fatigue. But we kept going in the hopes that our efforts will inspire our colleagues, friends and family to give what they can to the hospice's mission."

As of yesterday, a total of $800,000 had been raised for the Assisi Hospice from the Charity Fun Day.

The hospice - founded in 1969 - relies heavily on donations from companies and the public to fund its annual budget of $8 million.

It provides palliative and end-of-life care for patients with terminal illnesses. It serves more than 1,000 patients every year, and extends help to their caregivers and family members.

melodyz@sph.com.sg