Amputee team among Oxfam Trailwalker participants
Hikers compete to help others and show how any challenge encountered in life can be resolved
A team of amputees will join the thousands of hikers traversing the hills from Sai Kung to Yuen Long next weekend to raise HK$30 million for poverty and emergency relief in the Oxfam Trailwalker.
Team member Fung Kam-hung, who has a prosthetic foot, sees it as an opportunity to test his limits and inspire others.
Fung completed the 100-kilometre east-west trail across Hong Kong last year in 22 hours - well within the stipulated 48 hours - despite rainy weather that turned the paths muddy.
He was hiking with his wife and two friends then. "This year, I'm joining the event with a whole team of amputee athletes," Fung said. "We hope to bring positive energy to all those who are physically challenged."
The Oxfam Trailwalker began in Hong Kong in 1981 as a Gurkha-led training exercise for soldiers. Since opening to the public in 1986, it has become an annual fundraiser for Oxfam International, raising more than HK$365 million for projects in Africa and Asia, including Hong Kong and mainland China.
The charity target this year is HK$30 million, up from the HK$27 million raised last year.
The event, starting next Friday, will see 4,800 participants in teams of four getting from Pak Tam Chung to the Po Leung Kuk Jockey Club, mainly along the MacLehose Trail.
Some hikers see the trek as a way to build strength of character and make their lives more meaningful by helping others.
Veteran walker Chan Kwok-keung, who has taken part in Oxfam Trailwalker events in Hong Kong and overseas 25 times, said that being able to conquer the challenge year after year had helped him believe "any great difficulty encountered in life will eventually be resolved".
Killie Burton, who will join in for the first time this year, said it was a great way to raise funds for worthy causes.
"I felt so helpless when I saw people in Thailand and Japan suffer from natural disasters. I had nightmares. I wanted to do something to help."
Burton's team hopes to raise HK$30,000 for emergency disaster relief programmes through friends and companies.
Around the world, more than 22,000 walkers will take part in 15 events this year in 12 countries.