The pandemic has put on hold many key moments in the fundraising calendar, including marathons and other sporting events, but this hasn’t stopped people from raising funds in a way where it is safe, meaningful and effective. Rising to the challenge, a group of avid runners decided to channel their passion for running to generate funds for the children at Yayasan Chow Kit (YCK), a non-profit organisation serving children living in and around the dilapidated Chow Kit area.
The brain behind the initiative is Fido Hisham who managed to rally his fellow runners; Sue Bahrinal, Michelle Chua, Hayati Ramli, Amirah Azhari and Rauzan Rafeeq on board. The runners were compelled to be a part of the cause realising the gap in current virtual runs and being aware of the tough times many are still experiencing during the pandemic.
“We came up with this initiative as we wanted to do something different. Most of the virtual runs that I have come across are generally for medals and running tees.” Fido Hisham, part of You Fund, We Run project
Driven by their intention to make a difference during the pandemic, Fido reached out to Yayasan Chow Kit’s CEO, Ms Ananti Raj. Upon further discussion, he began to explore different options to integrate running and charity; that’s where the Simply Giving website came in as a mediator. Through a talk with Ms Ananti Raj, the team was exposed to the challenges Yayasan Chow Kit had traversed during these trying times and the runners are adamant to assist the organisation further.
The plight of the children is close to one of the runners, Michelle Chua, who is also a teacher.
“I’m a teacher and during the pandemic I saw many kids facing issues such as bad internet or spoiled devices/microphones or webcam. So this is a cause that is close to my heart.” – Michelle Chua, part of You Fund, We Run project
To Sue Bahrinal, the initiative is one of the many charity events that she had been part of utilising her love for running for a good cause.
“I like to get myself involved in charity initiatives. In the past, I’ve contributed my effort and time to the Malaysia AIDS Council, Stop Hunger Now, SPCA and National Cancer Society Malaysia – which I did as part of my run during the KL Standard Chartered Marathon.” – Sue Bahrinal, part of You Fund, We Run project
Encouraging responses from the public
The “You Fund, We Run” project works by challenging the team to run as much as the amount of donation collection. For every RM10 pledged, the team would run 1km in distance. At the start, the team aimed to raise RM5000 by the end of the campaign. However, as of mid-October, the total amount raised is RM9360.
The gathered funds so far exceeded their initial expectation, and Hayati was caught off-guard by the positive response from the public.
I never thought people would pay just to see us running. I’m so happy with the support given by Malaysians, even though we are now in a tough situation. I feel inspired and hopefully we can do more. – Hayati, part of You Fund, We Run project
To Michelle, the support of their family and friends who had been generous to kickstart them had been the foundation to their great achievements. Social media networks also played a pivotal role in spreading the news as friends shared the cause on different platforms.
“I felt our friends and family were very generous with the donations and the sharing of the news.“- Michelle Chua, part of You Fund, We Run project
The donations from the public that keeps on coming fueled Sue who had felt demotivated when it came to running earlier this year. Sue recently recovered from her health ailments and this cause had made her push herself to run even more and top her running records.
“I felt the need to run more and not to let the team down especially after seeing so many donations came in, seeing how supportive the generous donors are. I got sucked into it and ran more than I have ever ran in a month for 2021.” – Sue Bahrinal, part of You Fund, We Run project
Support has come in many different ways from the public – some left encouraging notes along with their donation, others watched the progress and some even voiced their concerns regarding their safety running outdoors during the pandemic.
“Our friends and other donors have been so supportive, they left encouragement and support through the message box (when donation was made). Some even joined our group in Strava (a sport activities tracker app) to see our progress. Some of them raised a little concern about running outdoors during this pandemic.” – Sue Bahrinal, part of You Fund, We Run project
At the same time, the belief bestowed on them by YCK and the members of the public had been influential in pushing them forward.
“We are appreciative of the generosity of the many in believing in us and ultimately supporting this initiative with us.” – Fido Hisham
Making every kilometer meaningful
Although some of the runners are wary of completing the mileage with the accumulated donation, Sue’s priority is to get more donations for the children.
“We keep trying to get more donations for the foundation, although some of us were a bit worried if we would be able to complete the mileage; but that’s the second. First thing first, get more donations for the children.” – Sue Bahrinal, part of You Fund, We Run project
Fido Hisham conveyed that any form of help is very much needed to navigate through these tough times. With their target exceeded, and reaching the RM10k mark, his words resonated with fellow Malaysians who had been key to their success.
“It was very warming to see how many people were also interested in the cause. Even through all the downs of this pandemic, there is still some light in this tunnel.” – Michelle Chua, part of You Fund, We Run project
Hayati also shared about her own beliefs in life, in which giving is an important entity. True happiness is achieved when others around you are also well and happy.
“Life is all about giving, not only does giving make you feel happy. But you will feel more satisfied when you see people around you are happy.” – Hayati, part of You Fund, We Run project
The initiative is one of many proofs that each one of us can make a positive impact in our own capacity and in our own unique way, using our own talents and skills. True Malaysian selflessness shines brighter during tough times.
Despite our adversity, those who are part of the vulnerable communities are always on our minds. Not only that, we are supportive of members of the community who are fundraising for a worthy cause. Perhaps, in the future, we will be the ones who carry the torch and create changes in society with our fundraising campaigns.
You can still donate!
The #You Fund, We Run campaign is reaching its end on the 31st of October and donations can still be made through their Simply Giving page. Their running progress can be viewed through their Strava page.