Volunteering for Let’s Take A Walk 2022
In August 2022, Raleigh Singapore wrapped up the 12th edition of Let's Take A Walk (LTAW), our flagship endurance walk event that was first organised in 1997. This edition, 100% of the proceeds (after operating costs) will be donated to Caregivers Alliance Limited. Dorothy Ng, a many-time LTAW volunteer, shares her reflections. ......................................................................................................................................
I'm no stranger to Let's Take A Walk. In past editions of the endurance walkathon, I have helped in publicity efforts with my like-minded friends from Raleigh Singapore. This year, I volunteered as a checkpoint IC at East Coast Park on Sunday. I decided to recycle the cardboard boxes I have at home into “ra-ra” posters to bring cheer to the walkers.
The checkpoint IC before me was Vivian. She and her volunteer had been up all night manning the East Coast checkpoint since Saturday night, 11pm. The checkpoint was well-equipped with her own table, picnic chairs and a trolley, drinks, plasters and some snacks. Both volunteers were chirpy despite staying up all night. Vivian also brought along her cute, feathered friend Jagabee, which became our little LTAW mascot.
Our checkpoint was the final pit stop before the endpoint of LTAW. Together with my fellow volunteers, Seok Chin and Swee Gek, we cheered the 100km, 50km and 20km walkers on with refreshments, cold sprays, plasters and snacks.
Just in a few hours of manning the checkpoint, I befriended some interesting volunteers and walkers. Vinoth Kumar and his friend, Sethnil Kumar Pandi were amongst the first to reach our checkpoint in the wee hours of the morning. They shared that LTAW 2022 is their fifth walk and these two amazing walkers have conquered the 100km and 150km successfully, every time. When quizzed to say something about LTAW after the event, Vinoth said, "This is one of the most amazing events that we have ever participated in. LTAW brought lots of memories and brought us lots of good friends. We really enjoyed walking 100km."
The 100km and 50km walkers never fail to inspire us. Despite their hours of walking through the night and weariness, they sported their smiles and waved back when we cheered them on. We met a father and son duo, who were doing the 50km walk together. The father had taken part in the 100km walk previously and the son decided to join the father this year for their first walk together. At our pit stop, the dad lovingly checked on his son's feet for blisters, and they shared a nice shot together with our homemade poster.
By 9.30am, the 20km walkers came in throngs. First-time logistics volunteer, Bob helped to restock the 100 Plus drinks and plasters and assisted walkers who had problems checking in. He shared how he got acquainted with LTAW as a 100km walker and his wife's candid words that made him decide to become a volunteer this year.
Money FM 89.3 radio hosts Neil Humphreys and Glenn van Zutphen generously shared their star power by flagging off the Sunday walk and walking alongside our walkers. Volunteer photographer, Kelly Cheng put her artistic photography skills to good use to capture poignant moments of our walkers and volunteers. Our beneficiary from Caregivers Alliance , CAL also formed a contingent comprising caregivers and volunteers to join in the fun as walkers.
The entourage of 28 Malay ladies and their zealous support team exemplified the kampong spirit with their sheer presence and happy chatters and certainly made their presence felt. When I saw them happily chilling on their picnic mats near my checkpoint, I approached them with a carton of sponsored 100 Plus sponsored canned drinks and invited them to pose with the for the sponsor which they gladly obliged. One of them casually said, “People asked us to take photos, we charge them. But for you, I give you free.” I giggled, bade goodbye and returned to my checkpoint, happy to get the photographs I wanted.
A walker chaperoning five young teenage girls caught my attention at the checkpoint. I approached them and found out that interestingly the guy is Sanjay, a teacher from Northbrooks Secondary School, who is in charge of the school’s jogging club. He decided to dedicate his Sunday morning and rallied five of his students to participate in the 20km walk in support of the meaningful cause. [Note: Sanjay himself had done the 50km walk on Saturday!]
Time whizzed passed as we busied ourselves taking photographs, handing out cold sprays, plasters and dishing out our bottled Ice Mountain drink and 100 Plus canned drinks.
LTAW is special to me and to many walkers and volunteers in different ways. Volunteering for LTAW over the years with the closely-knit Raleigh family has always been enjoyable and feels akin to a big family reunion. By 11am, it was also at the end of my “shift”. My “old guards” Raleigh comrades, Chan Peng, Bernice, Rae appeared with their mini-mes to add a touch of “cuteness” and to show support to our last walkers.
Kudos to the Organising Committee 2022 and the Raleigh family for their tireless efforts all these months to plan the walking routes, automate the check-in procedures, solicit for sponsors, plan the logistical movements of items from checkpoint to checkpoint. Everyone just putting their best foot forward, contributing their work skills, be in marketing, sponsorship, IT and talents to support the cause they feel passionate about It’s also great to see some young faces this year in the Organising Committee this year.
A big salute to Bridgette for her stellar work in driving the social media and publicity efforts and Norman and his group of volunteer photographers for documenting the event through their lens.
As Neil Humphreys aptly said on his Facebook post, LTAW is the "best of Singapore". There's a special magic in this 100% volunteer-run event that is infectious and uplifting and I'm glad that I have been a part of LTAW 2022 in a small way.
Please do continue to spread the word about Let's Take A Walk and our cause - caregivers for people with mental illnesses - Caregivers Alliance Limited. The caregiving journey for people with mental illnesses is a long and challenging journey. We hope that through LTAW and the strong support of our walkers and volunteers, these caregivers will know that there are friends, families, and people in society, both expats and Singaporeans, who truly care and are rooting for them.