When Lao Friends Hospital for Children (LFHC) opened in February 2015, it was hard to say who felt more grateful: The nation. Parents who, until that date, had nowhere else to turn for lifesaving treatment. Or the children themselves!
For the past couple of years, LFHC has become a refuge where 20,000 kids are treated annually and medical professionals are trained onsite to treat diseases common to this area of Laos. This hospital does lifesaving work daily in a region where malnutrition is commonplace and immunisation rates are low.
Sadly, one in five children don't live long enough to celebrate their fifth birthdays. Can you see why this facility is so important?
The hospital's motto is "We treat every patient like our own," so personalised attention plus prevention programs and treatments help remedy damage done to the children of Laos after many years of poverty and conflict.
No family pays for treatment
Because all treatment is free at the Laos Friends Hospital for Children, fundraising is particularly critical to keep doors open so vital services remain available 24/7. What better way to help with this effort than by choosing from three distance categories at the 2017 Luang Prabang Half Marathon?
You'll join runners from throughout Southeast Asia if you decide to be part of this worthy cause. Everything about this marathon is uplifting and appealing!
Registration for the Luang Prabang Half Marathon 2017 Run for Children is now open and organisers are keen to surpass the $53,543 USD raised last year. Participants win, too: Register now and get the early bird discount so you're rewarded, too.
How you can make a difference
Choose from three categories when you sign up for the Luang Prabang scheduled for Sunday, 22nd October 2017: 7km, 14km or the traditional half-marathon. Each is going to be magical because run routes are amazing and the night sky adds to the romance. Step off at the National Museum on Night Market Street and wind your way through quaint neighbourhoods filled with exotic buildings, temples, shops and attractions.
But scenery isn't the only beautiful aspect of this night: Your ticket fee will be used to help the kids.
The fun is in the details
This will be the 5th annual Luang Prabang Half Marathon event, so organisers have this night race well in hand. The staggered flag-off times will keep runners in all categories moving along efficiently: 5:30 p.m. for the 21km; 6:00 p.m. for the 14km and 6:30 p.m. for the 7 km. Everyone takes off from the Phetsarat Road start line.
There's a long 12-hour window for race pack collection and the pick-up venue is ideal: Bring your paperwork to the Visitors Center at LFHC on Kitsalat Road between the hours of noon and midnight on 21st October. Don't expect a huge stash of goodies in your race pack: you'll receive an official event t-shirt in return for your participation. After all, you want proceeds to go to treating critically-ill kids not entitlements, right?
Make it a runcation!
If ever there was a race venue that served multiple purposes, this is it! Direct flights from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hanoi, Siem Reap, Bangkok and select China cities get you to Luang Prabang in quick order and if you need a place to stay, ideas for down-time touring or maps for self-guided tours, Spacebib has you covered.
Since this charming location has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Town, there's so much to see and experience, making it a really long weekend adventure just makes good sense. Of course, your runcation has purpose, which is why it's so special.
With every footfall toward your personal best you financially support the only hospital in northern Laos that meets international paediatric standards, offering life-saving care for newborns, essential neo-natal services and a wide range of other services geared towards helping Laotian children live long, healthy lives.
Don't be surprised to find yourself falling in love with this charity and the kids it serves. You'll be inspired by members of the medical staff. And you'll be proud to say that you were an important part of this remarkable medical journey, too!
Every runner has a charitable cause that's near and dear to his or her heart: Do you have one that tugs at your heartstrings more than most? Care to share?