HONG KONG, 29 November 2015 — The Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF HK) organized the 10th UNICEF Charity Run on the Sunday before 1 December World AIDS Day at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Honourable Leung Chun-ying, over 40 corporate leaders, Ms Miriam Yeung, UNICEF Regional Ambassador (East Asia and Pacific), Ms Guo Jing-jing, UNICEF HK Ambassadors and over 13,000 runners showed their support for ‘AIDS to ZERO’. Over the past ten years, more than HK$77.5 million, including the HK$11 million raised this year, have been raised to support UNICEF’s ‘Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS’ global campaign, and help achieve an AIDS-free world by reaching more vulnerable children and families affected by HIV and AIDS in developing countries.
Over 98,000 runners have supported UNICEF Charity Run in the past ten years. This year, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Honourable Leung Chun-ying officiated the ceremony.Ms Judy Chen, Chairman of UNICEF HK expressed her gratitude to all supporters of the ‘Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS’ campaign, and shared the significant achievements of the campaign on ZERO new HIV infections, ZERO AIDS-related deaths and ZERO discrimination. She said, “In the past ten years, with the support of UNICEF Charity Run and donations raised for the cause around the world, UNICEF and partners have successfully averted more than 1.1 million mother-to-child HIV transmission and reduced AIDS-related deaths by more than 40 per cent through the ‘one pill daily’ and other proper treatment.”
But she added more has to be done to achieve an AIDS-free world, “Over 600 children are being infected with HIV through their mothers’ pregnancy, child-birth or breastfeeding every day. We need your continuous support to run towards ‘AIDS to ZERO’.”
With the 3km Leadership Challenge and this year’s newly launched half marathon corporate relay, UNICEF HK further engages corporations in the good cause to support children in developing countries. Ms Guo Jing-jing, UNICEF HK Ambassador and over 40 industrial and business leaders, including her husband Mr Kenneth Fok Kai-kong, Vice-president of the Fok Ying Tung Group, joined the 3km Leadership Challenge. Ms Guo said, “It is very meaningful to run for children in developing countries, with the vision of achieving an AIDS-free world. I hope everyone will continue to support UNICEF on promoting children’s well-being.” Another 90 runners from 15 corporations joined half marathon corporate relay, including K. Wah Group, the Principal Sponsor of UNICEF Charity Run 2015. To celebrate its 60th Anniversary celebration this year and promote the spirit of ‘Building the Future with Passion’, K. Wah Group has encouraged over 250 staff to join the race, besides donating HK$2 million to support UNICEF’s work.
After completing all the races of the day, it was announced that runner Thomas Kiprotich gained the Men’s Half Marathon Overall Championship (01’10’36), while runner Richards Jane won the Women’s Half Marathon Overall Championship (01’24’05). Whereas, Men’s and Women’s 10km Overall Championship were Chen Ping Feng (00’33’01) and Chang Chih Hsuan (00’38’10) respectively.
Wheelchair athlete Mr Ajmal Samuel and Fearless Dragon team overcame their physical challenges and joined the race to support the cause of combating HIV/AIDS. Mr Ajmal Samuel shared with UNICEF HK that, he once had an experience of receiving HIV test after having a blood transfusion in the United Kingdom in the 1980s due to a serious injury, when there was breaking news of people infected with HIV through blood transfusion, “I still remember the anxiety and distress of hearing the news. The month it took to get back the results still remain the most worrying period of my life. My test came back negative, but I have never forgotten what those moments felt like; and I’ve never forgotten those whose results were positive. I would like to help others do the same so that all of us can look to the future with hope and joy.”
UNICEF’s HIV/AIDS work also gained support from healthcare workers. Dr Angela Leung Fung-ming, who has supported UNICEF Charity Run since 2007, joined the 10km run today to raise fund for HIV/AIDS work. “For me, achieving an AIDS-free world is like running a marathon. Although the finishing line is far away, I would keep on telling myself, for each step I march forward, I get one step closer to the finishing line. As long as we do not give up, we can definitely accomplish the mission!”
UNICEF HK Ambassadors Wong Kam-po and Sarah Lee Wai-sze, although not able to join the event today, showed their support for AIDS to ZERO in a promotional video, and aspire everyone that with determination, we can realize the vision of AIDS-free world.
UNICEF HK has been organizing Charity Run since 2006 to raise funds for ‘Unite for children, Unite against AIDS’ global campaign. With the joint effort of UNICEF and its partners, today 3 in 5 HIV-infected pregnant and breastfeeding women living with HIV receive treatment to prevent the mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The number of new infections among children has also been significantly reduced 60 per cent. However, over 600 children are being infected with HIV through their mothers’ pregnancy, child-birth or breastfeeding every day. Without treatment, half of the children more than half of all babies born with HIV will die before their second birthday. UNICEF will not stop our work until there are ZERO new HIV infections, ZERO AIDS-related deaths and ZERO discrimination around the world.
Please visit unicef.org.hk/AIDStoZERO to learn more about UNICEF’s work towards ‘AIDS to ZERO’
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Official results of all races will be posted by 7 December 2015 on the UNICEF Charity RUN 2015 website: http://run.unicef.org.hk.