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Running laps for lives
25 August 2017

“Adding life to days, not days to life”, an often quoted refrain in relation to end-of-life issues. Each day becomes a gift, especially precious for both the terminally ill and their loved ones.

For this reason, HCA’s Trailblazers100 team endured gruelling distances ranging between 42km and 160km at a run on Saturday, 12 Aug and Sunday, 13 Aug at Macritchie Reservoir. We were fortunate to have Craze Ultra lend their expertise as the event organiser.

Our Trailblazers gathered at the Reservoir before the break of dawn and excited chatter filled the air.

Trailblazers Martini, Hafsah, Rauldhah and Ayesha.

One of those who was there was Ms Rauldhah, 40, who has been running ultra-marathons since 2013. She shared “This is my second time running for HCA Trailblazers and running for a cause makes my running more meaningful. So I thought, why not run to help raise funds and awareness for HCA instead.”

Trailblazers Moorthy and Jai.

Mr Jai, 37, a seasoned ultra-marathoner was running his maiden 160km. He recounted the first time he was invited to join the Trailblazer100 team. “Dr Tan Poh Kiang used to be my reservist CO and I saw him running for Trailblazers100 last year. I spoke to him and he encouraged me to join him in running for the home hospice cause.”

For Mr Moorthy, 54, he was still committed to the run even though his training schedule was interrupted by a fever some months ago. He persevered and completed the 101km Craze Ultra.

Moorthy also involved his employer in the efforts to raise funds for HCA through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) work.

Trailblazer Noel and his wife.

Noel, 43, shared with us a personal and heart-warming post he had written on his Facebook page. “There is nothing more meaningful for me than to be able to dedicate my run to the patients of HCA Hospice Care. Knowing that every single volunteer that I bring along to HCA will give joy to a patient. It also gives me that extra motivation and strength to get me through the many gruelling training sessions for this ultramarathon.

Running an Ultra Marathon is similar to the journey we face in life. Our journey is fraught with challenges, obstacles and unexpected circumstances.  The only thing we do know is that if we keep to the course, we will finish the race and finish it well. We never know when life ends, but we can do one thing: ‘ADD LIFE TO DAYS, NOT DAYS TO LIFE’.”

Joan with her husband, Dr Tan Poh Kiang, President of HCA Hospice Care

Mrs Joan Tan, 51, shares about her first Trailblazers100 experience. “Long distance running has to do with endurance and suffering. So in a way, it reminds me of those with illnesses, who are unable to recover easily. For me, running this ultra-marathon reminds me to thank God for the good health I have and to be more aware of people who are suffering and hopefully more will come to know about what HCA is doing. That is, to alleviate suffering and for patients to be able to die in the comfort of their own homes.”

She talks candidly about the conversations she has with her children. “I also tell my children that I want to die at home, but my children will say, ‘Why are you so morbid?’. But I feel that it is a good topic to broach even though it is considered ‘pantang’ to a lot of Chinese”

Mr Tan Poh Kiang, 50, President of HCA, gave us a preview of next year’s Trailblazer100 event, which he envisions to be bigger and bolder. “Trailblazers 2017 is unique in the sense that it is a prelude to the actual Trailblazer100 big event that we are designing in 2018. This year, we are riding on the momentum that the community has already been forged and the relationship is strong. So we are quite confident that with this year’s participation, we are going to build up enough energy to see that we’ll bring the 2018 Trailblazers to a huge success.”

The team of HCA Trailblazers100 before flag off.

About Trailblazers100

Trailblazers100 is formed by a community of ultra-marathoners, who have combined their love for running with bringing comfort and joy to our terminally ill patients at HCA Hospice Care.

If you would like to run for a meaningful cause, join us and be part of the Trailblazers100 team. For enquiries, contact Shi Hui: shihui@hcahospicecare.org.sg or Mel Basuki: melb@hcahospicecare.org.sg.