SINGAPORE, 1 September 2019 – More than 1,000 participants turned up at the Singapore River this morning to support the integration of 51-year-old Tan Bee Lian, and many like her who have disabilities, into mainstream society.
Organised by local disability charity SPD, the SPD Ability Walk & Run raised funds that go towards its programmes and services provided to enable and maximise the potential of its clients.
For Bee Lian who has cerebral palsy, it was difficult to go out often as she has limited movements. She used a rollator to move about and even so, it was painfully slow. Using a wheelchair was an option but she needed the help of others to push her. Last year, Bee Lian purchased a scooter at a subsidised rate by tapping on the Assistive Technology Fund (ATF). With support from SPD’s professionals and subsidised assessment and training on the use of her scooter, Bee Lian is now proficient in operating the mobility aid safely and is able to go out on her own with her friends. Empowered by her new found independence, Bee Lian attended the SPD Ability Walk & Run for the first time.
This year, in addition to the 3km walk along the picturesque Singapore River that started and ended at Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM), a 5km run component was added with over 400 participants taking up the challenge to complete the extended route that passed by the iconic Merlion and scenic Robertson Quay.
Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr Chan Chun Sing, did the honour of gracing the event and flagging off the walk and run segments.
Simulated disability activities have been a mainstay at the SPD Ability Walk & Run. This year, participants got a chance to better understand challenges faced by people with visual impairment and trying out an enhanced wheelchair obstacle course, two activities freshly incorporated as part of the fringe activities to inject experiential learning. At 1km from the end point, walkers were also encouraged to take up the three-legged challenge by completing the remaining distance tied to a partner to understand the difficulties individuals with mobility impairment face when ambulating in the community.
Diamond sponsor TechnipFMC has been a sponsor of the walk since the first held in 2016. “Our employees are excited to be part of the ability walk once again this year. Being able to support our communities and build friendship with people of diversity, is extremely important and meaningful for us in TechnipFMC,” commented Mr Loh Chiew Poh, Vice President, Manufacturing Surface International & Subsea Products.
“This is the fourth year we are organising the event and many sponsors, partners, volunteers and participants have been supporting us since the first SPD Ability Walk. We are deeply grateful for the commitment of everyone involved and with everyone’s support, and as we show that persons with disabilities can indeed be a part of the community, we look forward to a society that is even more accepting of and inclusive for people with varying abilities,” said SPD President, Ms Chia Yong Yong.
After completing the walk, participants gathered at the carnival ground at the ACM for food and games. A mobile massage team from the Singapore Association for Visually Handicapped (SAVH) provided muscle relief for walkers and runners, while the ACM, besides offering its function room to conduct the experiential activities and main grounds for the post-walk carnival, also granted free entry to its permanent galleries and discounted rate to its special exhibition to all participants of the SPD Ability Walk & Run today.