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Malaysians put on their walking shoes in support of raising funds for the underprivileged children who are undergoing leukaemia treatment at the University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC). Tesco Malaysia held its sixth annual Walk for Life 2013 today at the scenic University of Malaya Kuala Lumpur campus. Walk for Life is one of Tesco Malaysia’s fundraising efforts aimed to raise RM1 million to help 100 children with leukaemia from underprivileged backgrounds within three years.

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Jointly organised by Tesco Malaysia and UMMC, this year’s W alk for Life raised over RM100,000 in cash as well as in kind. In total, the Walk for Life campaign has raised RM600,000 since the launch in August 2012. The funds raised today will help families bear the cost of medication, treatment and hospital travel expenses for young leukaemia patients. The funds to help finance the children’s treatments are disbursed on a quarterly basis to needy children with leukaemia identified by UMMC.

The 5-kilometre fun walk was flagged off by Dato’ Sri Rohani Abdul Karim, Minister of Women, Family and Community Development and Georg Fischer, CEO of Tesco Malaysia. The walk was also attended by local celebrities such as Vince Chong, Vanessa Chong, Moots from Pop Shuvit, Najwa Latif, Ben Ibrahim, Belinda Chee, Lisa Wong, Nicholas Mak, Rina Omar, Khai and Sahri Sarip from Akademi Fantasia 1, Michelle Lee, Dian Sharlin and the reigning Miss Malaysia Tourism, Thaarah Ganesan. Tesco also pledged to donate RM500 for every celebrity that came to support the cause.

Along the campus’ scenic walk, participants were also challenged to walk, conquer and collect Clubcard points with the Clubcard Cop!Cop! Day Challenge and race through a series of obstacles including carnival games, limbo rock, a tyre challenge, a maze and ‘Speedy Gonzales’. By participating in the Clubcard Cop!Cop! Day Challenge, Tesco Clubcard members will stand a chance to win up to 1,000,000 Clubcard points (worth RM10,000).

“We are very thankful for the community’s support today because the funds raised from registration of the walk will aid our efforts to help the families with children diagnosed with leukaemia who are in need of financial support. With proper medical care and treatment, the underprivileged children we’ve seen suffering from leukaemia have every chance to lead healthy and normal lives. I am very encouraged to see several young survivors of leukaemia joining us for the walk today. It warms my heart to see their lives turned
around and I believe this gives further motivation to other patients who are still undergoing treatment,” said Fischer.

Professor Dr. Hany Ariffin, Senior Consultant Paediatric Oncologist at UMMC said, “Roughly 450 to 500 children are diagnosed with leukaemia every year in Malaysia. The cost of treating leukaemia can be overwhelming for most families. We are thankful for the support we received from Tesco Malaysia through the Walk for Life campaign. Now more needy children are able to undergo and complete treatment. I believe poverty should not rob a child’s chance of achieving cure”. “With an 85 percent chance of recovery today compared to the approximately 60 percent chance a few years ago, and through the efforts of Tesco Malaysia we hope to change these statistics in the future and bring hope to more children that are diagnosed with the disease,” added Professor Hany.

The Walk for Life is made possible with sponsorships from Tesco Malaysia’s partners including The Continuity Company (M) Sdn Bhd and Protect & Gamble Malaysia Sdn Bhd, among others. From a three-year-old to her 84-year-old grandmother, leukaemia patients, charity homes and students, Walk for Life saw the community coming together to battle childhood leukaemia. An array of performances by Najwa Latif and Batteryheadz Percussions Group also made it a lovely day out for everyone who took part.

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