It wasn’t just fun and games at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. On Sunday, 29 November 2015, 13,000 runners gathered at ‘The Happiest Place On Earth’ for a noble cause: an AIDS-free world.
Celebrating ahead of World AIDS Day on 1 December, the 10th UNICEF Charity Run raised HK$11 million this year in support of UNICEF’s ‘Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS’. The global campaign aims to work towards ‘AIDS to ZERO’ by reaching more vulnerable children and families affected by HIV and AIDS in developing countries.
Through the UNICEF Charity Run and donations raised from around the world, UNICEF and partners have successfully averted more than 1.1 million mother-to-child HIV transmission. AIDS-related deaths have also been reduced by more than 40 per cent through the ‘one pill daily’ and other proper treatment.
Whilst the campaign has made significant achievements on ZERO new HIV infections, ZERO AIDS-related deaths and ZERO discrimination, there is still more to be done. Without treatment, half of the children and more than half of all babies born with HIV will die before their second birthday.
Over 600 children are being infected with HIV through their mothers’ pregnancy, child-birth or breastfeeding every day. We need your continuous support to run towards ‘AIDS to ZERO’.
—Ms Judy Chen, Chairman of UNICEF HK
This year, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Honourable Leung Chun-ying, officiated the ceremony. The race’s 10th edition saw overwhelming support from people of all walks of life.
Over 40 corporate leaders joined in the 3 km Leadership Challenge, including: UNICEF Regional Ambassador (East Asia and Pacific) Ms Miriam Yeung, UNICEF HK Ambassador Ms Guo Jing-jing, and the latter’s husband Mr Kenneth Fok Kai-kong, Vice-president of the Fok Ying Tung Group.
90 runners from 15 corporations joined newly launched half marathon corporate relay. Amongst them is K. Wah Group, the Principal Sponsor of UNICEF Charity Run 2015. To celebrate its 60th anniversary and promote the spirit of ‘Building the Future with Passion’, the firm encouraged over 250 staff to join the race, and donated HK$2 million to support UNICEF’s work.
Others like wheelchair athlete Mr Ajmal Samuel and Fearless Dragon team overcame their physical challenges to join the race and support the cause against HIV/AIDS. Mr Ajmal himself once had a nerve-wrecking experience of receiving a HIV test. After receiving a blood transfusion due to a serious injury in the 1980s, news about HIV infections through blood transfusion broke out in the UK.
Healthcare workers also supported UNICEF’s work in combating HIV/ AIDS. Participating in the UNICEF Charity Run since 2007, Dr Angela Leung Fung-ming joined the 10 km run this year to raise funds for the cause.
For me, achieving an AIDS-free world is like running a marathon. Although the finishing line is far away, I would keep on telling myself, for each step I march forward, I get one step closer to the finishing line. As long as we do not give up, we can definitely accomplish the mission!
—Dr Angela Leung Fung-ming, 10 km runner
Thomas Kiprotich and Richards Jane emerged the male and female Half Marathon Overall Champions with the respective times of 01:10:36 and 01:24:05. Over at the 10km Overall Championship, Chen Ping Feng (00:33:01) and Chang Chih Hsuan (00:38:10) were the leading male and female winners.
Official results of all races will be posted from 7 December 2015 onwards on the UNICEF Charity RUN 2015 website.