Cyclists ride 1,200km across three countries to help kidney dialysis patients

Senior Minister of State for Health Chee Hong Tat welcoming the 64 participants of the Kidney Dialysis Foundation Millennium Ride as they ended their 1,200km journey through three countries at the Singapore Island Country Club. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - Mr Jack Tan, 47, was shocked and sad at having to watch his mother - who survived cancer twice - go through chemotherapy sessions.

When he heard of the annual Kidney Dialysis Foundation Millennium Ride - in which participants cycle through three countries to raise funds for dialysis patients - he was determined to complete the challenge and dedicate it to his mother.

Mr Tan, a business analyst, was among the 64 cyclists who pedalled 1,200km over five days in the ride this year which was the longest yet, 200km more than previous instalments that lasted four days.

The cyclists returned on Monday (Jan 29), ending their journey at the Singapore Island Country Club.

"Thinking of my mother allowed me to continue during the many times I wanted to give up," Mr Tan said, with tears streaming down his cheeks, shortly after he arrived in Singapore with the rest of the riders.

Organised by non-profit group, Epic Cyclist, the annual ride has so far raised $305,860 for the Kidney Dialysis Foundation (KDF), which provides subsidised dialysis to patients and supports kidney disease research. The funds will support an estimated 2,033 dialysis sessions for low-income patients here.

Flagged off in Hat Yai, Thailand, on Jan 25, the cyclists in this year's challenge pedalled along the west coast of Malaysia - through Taiping, Muar and Kuala Lumpur - before returning to Singapore at around 6pm on Monday.

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They rode for at least nine hours and covered 250km every day.

The cyclists came from all walks of life, with the oldest being 65-year-old retiree Peter Sng.

Another rider, Mr Benjamin Kwek, 48, was hospitalised for 10 days in November last year after a cycling accident left him with a broken hip bone and femur.

"In those 10 days, I felt the most down I had ever felt in my entire life. Thinking of that pain and the pain we went through in the ride, I still think it's nothing compared to the pain dialysis patients go through. This is the least we can do for them," said the married father of two.

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This year marked the fifth anniversary of the annual ride and Senior Minister of State for Health Chee Hong Tat and KDF founder and chairman Gordon Ku were among those who turned up for the welcome dinner for the cyclists on Monday.

The KDF currently serves about 300 dialysis patients, with 51 per cent over the age of 60, at its three centres islandwide. Dialysis fees can cost up to $2,000 per month.

Addressing the dinner, Dr Ku said: "It is through events like (this) and supporters like you that would help us to achieve our mission of ensuring that no kidney patient in Singapore will perish because of lack of fund for dialysis."

He added that KDF was researching on better diabetes treatments, as uncontrolled diabetes remained the most common cause of end-stage kidney disease requiring dialysis in Singapore.

Online donations for the KDF Millenium Ride remain open till June 30 at:

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