Etika group marketing manager Santharuban T. Sundaram presenting the mock cheque to Tiun.

Philanthropy and active living go hand in hand, writes Aznim Ruhana Md Yusup

IN the days leading up to the finale of the New Straits Times Body Makeover Challenge on Dec 4, Gatorade hosted a fitness event at 1Utama for the public to participate in. Activities included wall-climbing, shooting hoops and the cycling workout, Revolutions Per Minute (RPM).

There were prizes for those who took part, but Gatorade added a philanthropic aspect to the exercise.

For every kilometre cycled on the RPM machine, it donated RM10 to Persatuan Sukan dan Rekreasi Orang Kurang Upaya Negeri Pulau Pinang (Pesron Penang).

Pesron Penang is run by and works with people with disabilities, through sports like bowling, archery and athletics. The campaign saw a total of 1,320km cycled on the RPM. Gatorade evened out the amount for a RM15,000 contribution.


Lawn ball is one of the sporting activities organised by Pesron Penang for its members. Photo from Pesron Penang Facebook page

SPORTS AND COUNSEL

“There are a lot of societies for the disabled in Selangor and the Klang Valley but we are from Penang, so we are happy to have been chosen by Gatorade and Etika,” said Pesron Penang president Associate Professor Dr Tiun Ling Ta.

“As an NGO, it is difficult to operate without help from the corporate sector. Even though we are disabled, don’t look at our disability. Look at our ability. Our athletes may not have limbs, but they take part in archery. Two of our blind bowlers represent Malaysia in bowling.”

In addition to its work with senior athletes, Pesron Penang unearths sporting talents in schools. It trains students, who may be taken on as national athletes by the National Sports Council.

But it’s not all about sporting glory. The organisation also uses its range of activities as a form of counselling, particularly for people who become disabled in adulthood.

“There was a young man who had an accident that left him paralysed. After leaving hospital, he was depressed and suicidal,” says Tiun.

“We introduced him to lawn ball and he became active again. Until today, his mother thanks us.”