TRI 2. Be Bald. Be Brave. Beat Cancer.

I never liked running. Even when I was enlisted for the army (which every 18 year old Singapore boy has to be), or when I was representing my college for soccer, I hated training runs and always finished last in the group. It was not until I passed 40 that I laced up my Adidas again, due to the doctor’s advice. In the second year of my running, the devil inside challenged me to attempt a marathon.

Painful was an understatement to describe the whole ordeal. The body felt it could not take another step forward anymore. The mind battled with questions on my presence among the zombies crawling towards the finish line. Then the angel inside said to me, if you are to put yourself through this pain again, it has to be for something more meaningful than your own ego fulfillment. Since then, every endurance adventure I endeavor, I select a charity to raise funds for.

I had a young family. Wife and kids demanded my time so much that I could only train before they woke up or after they slept. Two years ago, I took an interest to triathlon and I have to add two more sports into my already time-squeezed training regime. Fortunately, kids become a little more independent, and the wife does not fancy as much of the man getting more wrinkled as the hair turns grayer so I gained a little more training time for after work and during weekends. My wife has gone from “You are crazy!” to “Why are you not training?” However, a one-man show can only do so much. In order to do more for charity, I rallied friends and colleagues to join me. With the emergence of social media, it is convenient for us to create awareness and promote our charity drive using Facebook, emails, YouTube and Whatsapp. The most difficult part is to ASK for donation. It is not effective to create awareness by only blasting out Facebook postings and sending messages. Many will read and forget about it, or simply ignore the messages. When the effort is required from the gang to take every opportunity to speak about the charity drive with others and at the end of the conversation ASK for donation, many of us felt like we are begging. We did not like that feeling. The way we overcome this weird feeling in us is, to kept on telling ourselves that we are not only doing a good deed for the children in need, we are also providing others an opportunity to do something good in their lives.

In 2016, my triathlon gang and I attempted our very first Ironman 70.3 in Bintan Indonesia. It was our first endurance event outside Singapore, and we had never done anything tougher than this. Adding to the difficulty, we did an Olympic Distance triathlon one week before the Bintan event, grinding our bodies on consecutive weekends to raise funds for a kindergarten for children with special needs. We managed to raise more than SGD9,000, which was the highest amount of money we had ever raised since we started raising funds using our endurance events. It felt ecstatic to be able to help the kindergarten, and we were very thankful to those who contributed.

This year, we decided not only will we do the same, doing the consecutive triathlon events a second time, we will sacrifice our hair (although not much left for some of us) to support Hair for Hope (HfH), which is an event that  creates awareness and raise funds for children and their families fighting cancer. The message we intend to put out to the children battling cancer, is that, it is ok to be bald, so that they will be braver going into treatment.

Our charity drive will happen over 4 consecutive weekends:

  • 30 July, we will attend a HfH event to have our heads shaved
  • 6 August, we will attempt the Tri-Factor Olympic Distance triathlon at East Cost Park Singapore
  • 13 August, we will run The Performance Series 10 km Run at Punggol Waterway Singapore
  • 20 August, we will attempt the Ironman 70.3 triathlon at Bintan Indonesia

We will be joined by Xcerra colleagues in some of these events. Ven Ng, Senior Applications Engineer will do the two triathlon events with us. Elise Sew (HR Officer), Kelvin Ang (Senior Applications Engineer), Phillip Ling (Senior Field Service Engineer) and Moo Mun Kit (Applications Engineer) will join us for the 10km run at Punggol Waterway. More are welcome.

All the funds we raise during this period will go to the Children’s Cancer Foundation (CCF), which is a non-profit organization that helps children with cancer, and their families, through enhancing their emotional, social and medical well-being.

With the wide usage of social media, we get to see more sharing of children battling cancer. Some of them came out of the battle stronger; some lost their brave fight against it. As parents, it pains us when we see children suffering from the symptoms of cancer, and the side effects from their treatment of cancer. As in most developed countries, childhood cancer is the commonest cause of death in children in Singapore. Thus, with this little thing we are doing, we hope to provide some ammunition to these children to march onto the battlefield bravely. On behalf of the children suffering from cancer, a BIG thank you for fighting this battle against cancer alongside them.