Running for hope
NKF boss and kidney patient to cover 10km at upcoming Standard Chartered Marathon to raise funds
Mr Job Loei would put most of us to shame.
After all, he is 50 years old, a kidney patient, and has heart issues to contend with.
Yet, he plans to run 10km - the maximum distance endorsed by his doctors to remain safe - at the Standard Chartered Marathon on Dec 7 to raise funds for fellow patients.
The tanned and fit-looking Mr Loei says of the endeavour: "It's something I can do for the patients. I can't sing, I can't act and I don't have any talent other than to do a bit of running."
Mr Loei heads the National Kidney Foundation's (NKF) patient advocacy and volunteer management department.
When he was 20, he was diagnosed with chronic glomerulonephritis - a type of kidney disease where the part of the kidney which filters waste and fluids from blood is damaged.
Within 10 years, his kidneys had failed and he had to be on dialysis at the age of 29.When he turned 38, his kidney problem affected his heart.
Mr Loei says: "The doctor told me I have a pulmonary valve leak and I may need a bypass one day."
So he decided to start exercising.
Since then, he has been going to the gym thrice a week. He also runs regularly. But as he is recovering from an operation to remove his thyroid gland in April this year, the upcoming 10km run will be a challenge.
Mr Desmond Ang, an exercise specialist with the NKF, will be running as Mr Loei's buddy to ensure that the run is kept at a reasonable paceso that Mr Loei is safe.
Mr Loei's determination to do his part has inspired NKF's CEO, Mr Edmund Kwok, 56, to run too.
Mr Kwok says: "When I heard that he (Mr Loei) is going to run and that he (Mr Ang) is running with him, how can I sit back and not do anything?"
Despite admitting that he hates running, and he "last ran 37 years ago in the army", Mr Kwok is putting himself through training.
It will be a challenge for Mr Kwok - he cycles instead of runs because of knee pain.
Mr Ang acknowledges that it is an uphill task for a non-runner to train for a 10km run within six weeks.
But Mr Kwok has persevered.
The trio train once a week and they have been able to hit 5km so far.
The CEO says wryly: "Job is a living testimony of what exercise can do (for your body). If you look at him and he doesn't say he's the patient, you may think I'm the patient instead!"
He confesses to whinging whenever they train and feels a sense of relief at the end of the run. Mr Kwok has to contend with knee pain too, but he is forging ahead.
"It is the spirit we want to imbue in NKF - that we all care. This is our bid - if he is going to do this for our patients, then I'll want to do it for our patients as well," says Mr Kwok.
The trio hope to raise $25,000 to buy artificial kidneys - a tube-like filter which removes waste products from a patient's blood during dialysis.
Each artificial kidney costs $30 and lasts about a month for each patient.
To donate, visit giveasia.org/movement/kidney_patient_runs_for_hope_1
I can’t sing, I can’t act. I don’t have any talent, other than to do a bit of running.
– Mr Job Loei