Boy with spina bifida raises $11,000 handcycling 25km
10-year-old boy born with spina bifida a top-10 fund-raiser at charity event
It was barely a few kilometres into the 25km cycling event when a sizeable slope stood before Jeremiah Liauw, 10.
Jeremiah, who was born with spina bifida and has limited use of his legs, was the only handcyclist at the Ride for Rainbows event held on April 29.
His parents had to give him a boost while other cyclists overtook them, but Jeremiah managed to complete the course in just over two hours.
For his hard work, Jeremiah raised $11,078, making him one of the top-10 fund-raisers at this year's ride.
Ride for Rainbows started in 2012, and all proceeds go to programmes and services for Club Rainbow's beneficiaries, who are children with chronic illnesses and their families.
This year's event, which was held at multi-recreational park Orto Yishun, saw 705 riders across the 25km, 50km and 100km categories.
They had raised nearly $587,000 as of yesterday.
Donations are open until Monday and can be made through the Ride for Rainbows website.
My idol is Theresa (Goh). She has the same kind of spinal bifida like me, so I feel a greater connection to her.” Jeremiah Liauw
Jeremiah told The New Paper that he was "excited but nervous" before the event as it was his first time cycling the full 25km route.
Despite his age, Jeremiah is already an award-winning sportsman.
When he was just four, he participated in the 750m Kids Dash event at the 2010 Standard Chartered Marathon.
Armed with knee pads and shoes on his hands, he crawled the entire distance, refusing to be picked up.
Last year, Jeremiah bagged three gold medals at the Singapore Press Holdings Foundation National Para-Swimming Championships, winning the 50m freestyle, 50m breaststroke and 50m butterfly.
"I want to swim in the Paralympics like Yip Pin Xiu and Theresa Goh," said Jeremiah.
"My idol is Theresa. She has the same kind of spinal bifida like me, so I feel a greater connection to her."
Sports aside, Jeremiah also juggles back-to-back academic and religious commitments.
His mother, Mrs Michele Liauw, refuses to mollycoddle Jeremiah.
"Some parents like to help their child do certain things, such as carrying their schoolbags for them. But I do not believe in that.
"I hang the schoolbag on his wheelchair and let him wheel himself. Sometimes, because the bag is heavy, it is harder to wheel. So he likes to call me his '(evil) stepmother'," Mrs Liauw told TNP with a laugh.
"I tell him, he needs to be able to take care of himself. I might not live to 60 or 70. So it is important he learns to do things now."