Every organisation needs a catalyst – someone who can identify a worthy goal and can inspire others to pursue it. 43 year old Muthu Samy Mariappan is one such person. Last year, he rallied 10 of his colleagues to run together as part of their corporate team in the SingTel – Singapore Cancer Society Race Against Cancer(RAC). This year, he’s rallied 48.
For his fellow runners who joined from different departments, RAC 2013 is an opportunity to do something good for the community and to keep healthy. For Samy, however, the race against cancer has personal significance. Having lived and studied in India in his youth, Samy moved to work in the Middle East for six years after graduating before settling in Singapore. Alone in a foreign land, Samy was fortunate enough to have met his colleague, Danny Mayfield, who helped him to settle into his new job.
“I first met Danny in 1998. He was such a helpful person, very patient in teaching me the service part of my business. He was a good friend and mentor who helped to shape my career. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2007 after a short struggle with blood cancer. Danny discovered his cancer at a very late stage and passed away within a couple of months after detection. None of us saw it coming. It was very sad.”
Some years later, when Samy found out about the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) and its work to minimise the impact of cancer in Singapore, he decided to get involved to keep the memory of Danny alive.
“I’ve always been involved with charity projects and the Singapore Cancer Society is one of the well-organised voluntary welfare organisations in Singapore that helps the needy who are impacted by cancer. It was a natural choice for me to get involved. My wife, Saras, and my daughter, Sreenidhi, are both very supportive of my efforts.”
An avid runner, Samy pounced on the idea of running the annual Race Against Cancer, which is organised by SCS and title-sponsored by SingTel. Drawing together some 8,500 runners and 103 corporate teams, RAC 2012 raised more than $750,000 for SCS. This includes the $200,000 donated by the SingTel Touching Lives Fund in support of the SCS Help the Children and Youth Programme.
With the support of his company’s senior management, Samy ran with 10 of his colleagues as representatives of Thermo Fisher Scientific in RAC 2012. This year, the number has grown to 48.
34 year old account manager, Alice Tan, was one of those who ran in RAC 2012 and is currently prepping for RAC 2013.
“We hold our weekly training sessions every Wednesday. We’re hoping that this shared experience will help us to bond together as a team as we all come from different departments within the organisation. More importantly, we want to contribute as one company to the needs of those who have been impacted by cancer.”
Others, like 33 year old Kurt Lim, are also running RAC 2013 for the first time for personal health reasons. Already a father of two, Kurt didn’t need much convincing. “I do not want to grow to be a fat uncle. I have been telling myself lately that I need to participate in some sports activities to keep fit and get back in shape.”
Samy too has decided to up his game for RAC 2013. Instead of running the normal 10km route, Samy’s been training to run this route twice within the allocated time to raise funds in support of SCS. His colleagues from as far afield as India, the UK and US have donated close to $1,000 to support this initiative.
Already, the effects of their participation can be seen in the wider organisation. Most of Samy’s colleagues have signed up for health packages that screen for cancer markers. Department representatives have also started raising funds for SCS within each department.
Reflecting on the enthusiastic response from his colleagues, Samy recalls a Quaker proverb he encountered in an article which has since become something of a personal philosophy:
“I shall pass through this world but once.
Any good thing that I can do,
or any kindness that I can show
to any human being,
let me do it now and not defer it
for I will not pass this way again.”
He explains, “any amount of help offered, no matter how big or small, is a catalyst for others to take action and show support to cancer sufferers and survivors. You might not realise it but just thinking of doing something meaningful for those impacted by cancer is a major step towards greater community involvement. All you have to do next is join hands with other like-minded family and friends to support those who are suffering or have survived cancer.”
Catch Samy and his corporate team from Thermo Fisher Scientific at RAC 2013 on Sunday, 21 July at Angsana Green, East Coast Park. To find out more about how you too can be an SCS Charity Athlete like Samy is, please call 6421 5862 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.