Voices That Care

Say Hello to ... Sally

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 ….. volunteer mentor Sally Mun, who, together with her son Max, has been an essential part of Care2Run for over four years.

SALLY and her son, Max, have been with Care2Run since almost the very beginning in 2015, so it’s no wonder that she describes Care2Run as their “second home”.

Max, a graduate of Care2Run’s inaugural Junior Leaders Programme, has grown and improved over the years at Care2Run, and Sally says, that’s because 17-year-old Max has felt a sense of belonging and empowerment.

“Care2Run has empowered and provided the opportunity for him to have a vision and an ambition,” says the executive search consultant and mum of two, adding, “He’s learnt leadership, teamwork and togetherness here.”

Of course, the future is uncertain, Sally admits. But she is, nonetheless, grateful for the growth both she and Max have experienced since they chanced upon Care2Run all those years ago.

Hey there, Sally. You and Max have been part of Care2Run for a long time now. How and when did you first join?
Hi there! Well, I found out about Care2Run through a cousin sometime in 2015. I believe Prem, Mee Leng and the team had just founded Care2Run at the time and we joined one of their runs in Bukit Gasing. Max had never really run before that, but we saw Care2Run as an outlet for him to channel some of his boundless energy.

You must have enrolled Max in countless programmes over the years.
Oh yes. There were many. We started with speech therapy when he was very young, and later, we moved on to occupational therapy and some sort of special education intervention, which included helping him learn how to eat things he had an aversion to like apples and watermelons. I’d say that all the forms of therapy and intervention have helped Max. However, as he grew, his needs changed, and some years ago, we saw that there was a need to address the physical aspects of Max’s development. Sports, both through football and his involvement with Care2Run, has helped in this area tremendously. He’s become a very active boy who loves physical activity.

How old was Max when you first noticed his differences?
I noticed something amiss when he was very young, actually. Max was about eight months when I noticed a lack of eye contact. However, the doctors were reluctant to diagnose him that early, so he was only diagnosed with autism and ADHD at about age three. Nevertheless, even before that, we tried to address the issues, and that early intervention really helped.

Max was a Care2Run youth representative at the 2018 Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability’s Inclusive Sports forum in Bangkok and his coaches say he was an amazing ambassador. He attended the forum again this year, and this time, you accompanied him. What was that experience like for you?
Honestly, I was really, really impressed with him in Bangkok. It’s sometimes not easy to coach and guide Max because he can be inflexible and will oppose you if he doesn’t like something. But on this trip, I experienced something totally unanticipated – he was super coachable. He came out tops in almost all the programmes. He even finished at the top in the long jump event. Max isn’t tall, so I never expected him to do well in that event. He faltered at his first two attempts during the event and I said to him that his technique was wrong and he should approach it the same way he does sliding tackles in football. I didn’t expect him to listen to me. But to my surprise, he paid attention and did exactly what I asked.

Care2Run has been an important part of your and Max’s lives these past few years. What does the organisation mean to you?
Well, Max certainly feels at home at Care2Run and he’s definitely benefited a lot from the programmes. And as I’ve mentioned, he’s felt empowered. To me, there isn’t a programme out there which is as focussed and dedicated to helping differently-abled kids through sports as Care2Run. Many organisations use play, occupational therapy and all sorts of other tools to engage kids with differences. However, Care2Run is unique in its use of sports and physical activity. There are many positive things that sports and physical activity can help with. For example, sports helps mobility, and that is very important when you’re talking about kids with Down syndrome. Kids with Down syndrome tend to live very sedentary lives and that can pose a problem for them as they grow older. So physical Care2Run can certainly be an avenue to assist with that.

What are your aspirations for Care2Run?
I would like to see Care2Run eventually evolve into a sort of sports foundation. Not every child might respond to sports, but for those who do, Care2Run can provide that avenue for kids with differences to grow, and hopefully, realise their potential. I also think Care2Run can work towards a future where its services can be procured by private and public schools for programmes.

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