Video message from Dr John Beard, Director for Life Course and Ageing Department, World Health Organization, at the ComSA Forum 2017 on Friday, 18 August. Watch here.
Realising her dream to run seven marathons on seven continents, Yvonne Chee completed the Antarctic Ice Marathon on 20 November 2013. In honour of her grandmother, Yvonne has dedicated her awesome venture to raise funds for the Tsao Foundation's An Le Fund, which supports the healthcare needs of elders in its care.
Yvonne Elizabeth Chee's grandmother was instrumental in raising her, until she was 18 years old.
Her “Ah Ma” was a determined and strong lady and she imparted these values to Yvonne through her strict discipline and no-nonsense approach.
“Ah Ma holds a special place in my heart. Without my grandmother, I would not be who I am today,” says the civil servant.
“Therefore I strongly believe that we have a lot to learn from our elders and that older folks deserve to have a good quality of life,” she says.
This is why she chose the Tsao Foundation to be the beneficiary of her last 3 marathons - in Africa (Marrakech, Morocco on 27 January 2013), South America (Rio de Janeiro on 7 July 2013) and finally, Antarctica (Antarctic Ice Marathon on 20 November 2013). She described the last, completed in 6 hours and 34 minutes, as "the toughest marathon I've ever ran, given the 20° C snow conditions and katabatic winds".
Yvonne ran her first marathon in Brussels, Belgium in 2007 and for her second marathon in 2008, the New York City Marathon, she raised funds for cancer research. Following those, she ran in Asia and Australia.
What makes Yvonne's feat all the more remarkable is that she is a civil servant with a full-time posting in Paris. She has paid for the races mostly out of her own pocket, although she is looking for sponsorship to help defray the costs.
Yvonne feels that there is not enough awareness about the needs of the elderly, and she is determined to change that, in her own way, through this seven-continent race.