7,000 join overnight relay run to raise $1m for cancer society

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu (second from left) and participants at the Singapore Cancer Society's TalkMed Relay For Life.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu (second from left) and participants at the Singapore Cancer Society's TalkMed Relay For Life.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/SINGAPORE CANCER SOCIETY-TALKMED RELAY FOR LIFE

Actress Bridget Fernandez's family went through a traumatic time in late 2014 when they learnt that her elder brother had liver cancer and had just months to live.

They also had to go through a "humbling" experience in navigating the difficult process of caregiving and getting subsidies to pay for his cancer treatments, though they received guidance and help from the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS).

"You usually only hear wonderful things and don't hear the struggles. The SCS helped us through dealing with the reality of helping a loved one with cancer," she said.

So yesterday, three years after her brother's death, Ms Fernandez, 54, joined around 7,000 others in an overnight relay run in support of the fight against cancer. "I felt like my brother was encouraging me to do a bit more," said Ms Fernandez, describing her brother, who was in his 60s, as her role model.

The relay was SCS' TalkMed Relay For Life. It was the event's third edition and set a new record in the Singapore Book of Records for the longest distance (14,849.2km) covered by a group of runners in six hours.

The relay saw a total of 208 teams taking part in the 100km challenge - almost double last year's number.

Participants walked and ran from dusk to dawn alongside cancer survivors and caregivers, in a bid to raise funds, provide encouragement to those impacted by the disease, and raise awareness of cancer and its impact on lives.

The $1 million raised - outstripping the $830,000 raised last year - will go towards funding the programmes and services run by SCS to serve the cancer community.

President Halimah Yacob, who flagged off the event on Saturday, joined the cancer survivors in one lap around the National Stadium and penned a message of support. Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu yesterday made the last lap with cancer survivors.

Dr Ang Peng Tiam, executive director and CEO of TalkMed Group, said its participation in the relay was an important way to show support for cancer patients.

SCS chief executive Albert Ching said the overnight run concept shows cancer never sleeps and that the fight against cancer never stops.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2019, with the headline '7,000 join overnight relay run to raise $1m for cancer society'. Print Edition | Subscribe