Hospital charity run raises 52m baht in donations

Athiwara Khongmalai, best known as Toon Bodyslam.
Athiwara Khongmalai, best known as Toon Bodyslam.

Khon Kaen – A 172-kilometer charity run from Nong Khai to Khon Kaen ended Sunday, having raised an impressive 52 million baht in donated funds to help support eight community hospitals in the northeastern region of Thailand.

Thai singer, Athiwara Khongmalai, best known as Toon Bodyslam, reached the finishing line of the charity run at Khon Kaen Central Stadium Sunday evening, marking the end of a route which took the runners 48 hours to complete after starting on June 15.

The last 11-kilometer section from Khon Kaen Provincial Town Hall to the central stadium created a new record as the mini-marathon event with the biggest number of participants in the northeastern region. Many villagers gathered along the track cheering the runners on and making donations.

Toon Bodyslam gave an interview to the media, thanking all the Thai people who supported the campaign, adding that donations can still be made until July 31, after which all proceeds will be donated to the hospitals.

“We didn’t think it would be this much. We have a 10-baht donation via SMS option for everyone. We wanted to communicate that even small amounts of money that many may think is not enough to save any lives is actually worthwhile if they are all combined into a big amount,” said Toon. “I wish to thank all Thai people who supported the campaign and helped on this occasion.”

Toon Bodyslam had earlier met with Khon Kaen Governor Somsak Jangtrakul at Khon Kaen provincial hall, where the governor thanked him for creating interest in exercise and healthcare among Khon Kaen villagers and people of the northeast. The governor then delivered a silk cloth signature to the province made in Chonnabot district of Khon Kaen.

Toon said he wants to hold similar campaigns in all regions, each for two days, adding that he doesn’t anticipate big donations, as more important than the money is the awareness of exercising by villagers, such as a daily run in the park instead of strolling around shopping malls, as a healthy lifestyle will prevent unnecessary hospital visits.