Annual cancer fundraiser to take place in hybrid mode this year

More than 7,600 participants took part in the Singtel-Singapore Cancer Society Race Against Cancer in 2019. PHOTO: SINGAPORE CANCER SOCIETY

SINGAPORE - The Singtel-Singapore Cancer Society Race Against Cancer (RAC) will take place as both a physical event and a virtual challenge this year, after it went fully virtual in the last two years because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Organised by the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS), the 14th edition will comprise a physical race on Sept 18 morning at the East Coast Park, and a virtual race challenge from Sept 18 to 25.

Both physical and virtual races feature distance categories ranging from 5km to 42km.

SCS chief executive Albert Ching said: "We wanted to bring back the physical event where everyone rallies together in support of the cancer community.

"But we also decided to retain the virtual challenge for a wider outreach and peer-to-peer fundraising in place of paying a one-time registration fee."

Mr Ching added: "This shift in fundraising mechanics empowers participants to become proactive fundraisers. Beyond the direct participants of the race, their families and friends are also encouraged to help raise funds."

Mr Mervyn Sek is planning to take part in the virtual challenge again this year, having done so since 2020.

"I am hardly a runner... I wanted to push beyond my comfort zone and limits to experience discomfort and pain in slightly over a week (through runs in the virtual challenge), as compared to cancer patients who experience more discomfort and pain over months and years," said the 43-year-old, whose wife recovered from Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2020.

This annual fundraising event aims to raise $1.25 million, with record sums of $1,291,577 and $1,529,146 raised in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

Every year, SCS needs to raise at least $20 million, through fundraising events and donations, to support its programmes as well as create new initiatives to continue improving the lives of the cancer community.

The money raised through RAC would fund cancer treatment subsidies, welfare assistance, cancer rehabilitation, hospice care, cancer screenings, research, public education, and cancer support group initiatives, such as SCS Help the Children and Youth Programme (HCYP), which caters to the educational and psychosocial needs of the young with family members affected by cancer. The programme has benefitted 2,633 youth and children since its inception in 2009.

One such beneficiary of the HCYP is Benjamin, who declined to give his full name.

The 19-year-old's family received financial aid from the initiative in 2021, when his father was diagnosed with stage 4 tongue cancer, and both Benjamin and his younger sister received refurbished laptops from Singtel through HCYP for school.

Benjamin said: "The help we received during that period of time really eased our burdens. I remember my parents feeling very happy when they saw that my sister and I were provided with laptops."

Benjamin's family received financial aid from the initiative in 2021. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

After the passing of his father this year, Benjamin's family continues to receive assistance as his sister has enrolled into the HCYP tuition programme.

Mr Ching said: "At the end of the day, platforms like Race Against Cancer are meant to galvanise both corporations and individuals to do their part because it takes an entire community to provide the kind of support our cancer community needs."

Registration is open until Sept 4 for the physical race and Sept 17 for the virtual race via this website.

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