Voices That Care

Say Hello to ... Daniel

Every single person in Care2Run’s ecosystem is essential, and we’ve grown so much in three years thanks to all the different individuals who’ve played a part in getting us to where we are.

It is for this reason that we aim to hand this section over to our people – our participants, coaches, volunteers, parents, friends and loved ones – so they can tell you what Care2Run means to them.

This week we say hello to …..  Daniel Loh, a participant who enriched all of us when he signed on to join the practices for Bursa Bull Charge 2018.

DESPITE only joining us in the run-up to last year’s Bursa Bull Charge, it didn’t take Daniel long to warm up to everyone – coaches, mentors and mentees. In fact, very soon after the first practice session, Daniel was joining Care2Run’s coaches in discussions and even came on board as a guest speaker during our volunteer orientation session at Bursa Malaysia.

Looking back at the orientation session now, Daniel tells us that he was nervous at the prospect of speaking in front of a roomful of strangers. However, he says that his experience that day has made him aspire to become a public speaker.

Daniel, who is a fulltime outreach officer at a children’s home, also shares with us how the entire experience of being involved with the practice sessions as well as the run itself on Sept 27, 2018 left a lasting impression on him.

Hello Daniel. Could you tell us a little about yourself?

Hi there. I was born in Kluang, Johor. There are five of us in the family: my parents, my two siblings and me. I’ve had cerebral palsy since birth. I was born premature and, in accordance with standard neonatal care practice, should have been kept in the incubator for a longer period. Unfortunately, due to ignorance on the part of medical officers caring for me at that time, I was mistakenly treated as a normal baby and was removed from the incubator earlier than required, thereby resulting in permanent brain damage to me. Despite my challenges though, I’ve never given up on myself. Neither has my family, who have been very supportive.

After I completed my secondary education, I gained admission to Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences. And after I graduated from USM, I enrolled in the Master of Public Policy programme at Universiti Malaya.

I currently work as an outreach officer at an orphanage. My work entails many tasks, ranging from public relations and meeting with potential donors to secretarial and accounting duties. At night, after work, I give Mandarin classes.

Can you tell us how you found out about Care2Run?

I learnt from a friend sometime in July last year that Bursa Malaysia would be hosting its fifth Bursa Bull Charge (BBC 2018), a premier charity run in the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s financial district. And for the first time, the organisers had included a category for differently-abled persons. I decided to participate as it was a chance to sweat it out, and that’s how I was introduced to Care2Run. Later on, I found out that Care2 Run was the catalyst for the Bursa Bull Charge organisers’ decision to include a para run category into the event.

You also spoke at Bursa during our volunteer orientation programme. What was that experience like?

That was the first time, I’d stood and spoken in front of a crowd. I had mixed feelings about it prior to going up on stage. Fortunately, the audience was very supportive. After sharing my story, someone even came up and thanked me and said that she found my story inspiring. Looking back now, I think that my voice might have been too soft that day. I remember that I fumbled a little at first but gradually, I became more comfortable and started to open up. I really have to thank Prem for allowing me the opportunity to tell my story to our friends at Bursa.

Did you enjoy the run itself?

The crowd was really excited the moment the para runners started to run. Unfortunately, it started raining mere minutes after we were flagged off. Nevertheless, with persistence and perseverance, my run buddy Yoke Leng and I managed to complete the 1.5km distance in 14:56min. I believe the spectators, as well as Bursa staff taking part in the event, were impressed and inspired by the sportsmanship and perseverance demonstrated by the para runners. Personally, this event also allowed me to witnessed the unlimited potential of all the differently-abled persons that took part.

What was your experience like running together with Yoke Leng?

Yoke Leng was very approachable and she gave me a lot of advice about preparing for the run. I can say that I felt quite lost in terms of what to do to prepare for a run. However, Yoke Leng took the initiative to give me advice on exercising and building my stamina so I’d be ready on race day. She was really encouraging and we even met for lunch on the day of the event.

Can you tell us what you personally felt about the way the practice sessions were conducted and how you feel it helps differently-abled persons?

From what I experienced, Care2Run’s approach has tremendous impact. To me, the idea behind Care2Run is not only to help differently-abled persons but also to integrate their parents into the programme. That is unique. And by this collective participation, parents get to witness their kids grow.

Did your experience at BBC 2018 make you think about perhaps competing in similar events in the future?

Oh yes. I managed to make some friends from Care2Run through this event, so if there is a future event like this, I would love to be a part of it. The experience also gave me the confidence to speak and inspire people, which is something I would love to do more of. I feel speaking is more candid than writing and I prefer the dialogue-style of sharing.

*** Daniel loves sharing his experiences with people. If you’d like to engage him to speak at your event, he may be contacted at daniel2282@yahoo.com.

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