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APSN walkathon special needs

Lantern walkathon helps create support for special needs community

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10,000 Singaporeans took part in the Association for People with Special Needs (APSN) lantern walkathon on Saturday to help raise funds and awareness for people with mild intellectual disability (MID).

The strong turnout created long queues that snaked from the pavilion near the water all the way to the Stadium train station. 

APSN walkathon

Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan Jin (in red) flags off the 1.6km walk. Photo: Sport Singapore 

Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan Jin flagged off the 1.6km walk around the National Stadium as the large crowd, many with children in tow, strolled towards the carnival area located at the end of the walk.

Many who turned up for the event wanted to show support for APSN, which runs the schools and training centres for the MID community in Singapore. The APSN walkathon was also supported by the 2015 ASEAN Para Games, which will be held for the first time in Singapore this December.

Shiam Jerome Ratnagopal, founder of Non-Governmental Organisation, said he hoped this event would raise awareness about the MID community in Singapore.

"I hope with more public events like this, the public is more educated about the different disabled communities in Singapore and help them in any way they can, even if it is just turning up to participate in this walkathon," Ratnagopal said.

"The timing of this event is also good to drum up support for our para-athletes in the upcoming ASEAN PARA GAMES this December," he added.

Apart from NGOs, there were also many companies who took part to show their support.

Bridgestone tyre's general manager Shirley Lee said the company wanted to show their support for APSN and also stressed that the event was a good opportunity for team-bonding.

"From this walk we would like our fellow colleagues and staff to actually learn about the unfortunate (recipients) of the beneficiaries and how we can interact with them," Lee said. 

APSN walkathon

Star Wars cosplay actors were spotted lending their support at the walk as well. Photo: Sport Singapore

Participants were treated to a variety of shows from a live band to even Guzheng performances. There were also Star Wars cosplay actors and bouncing castles that entertained the younger children attending the walkathon. 

APSN walkathon

Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan Jin speaks to performers. Photo: Sport Singapore

All in all, President of APSN Chan Chee Kong called the event a success.

"We hope the event has helped increased awareness of the public on the needs of people with mild intellectual disabilities and I would like to thank especially all the volunteers who made this event such a success," said Chan.

As part of efforts to rally support for the Asean Para Games, there was also a roadshow held at Choa Chu Kang Sports Centre over the weekend, where the public tried out para sports like wheelchair table tennis and wheelchair basketball.

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