Friday, 30 November 2012

How Difficult Can It Be To Be Charitable?

Monkeying Around For The Cancer Cause

A few weeks before David’s crazy feat to run his maiden half marathon in a Gorilla suit to raise funds for the Children’s Cancer Foundation (CCF), I had made some observations about the support he got along the way which I wish to detail in this blog post.

The Supporters

We were amazed by the resounding support he got from some friends, close ones as well as those who weren’t very close.  It was heartwarming for me to see the advice about training, heatstroke prevention, and pre-race diet he was getting from genuinely concerned friends and it was even more fabulous to see them readily supporting his cause by donating to the CCF. We were inundated with phone calls, text messages and Facebook comments offering him encouragement.

We were also chuffed when the lovely ladies at Fulford PR agency arranged a photo shoot of David in his Gorilla suit in an attempt to pitch it to the press so that he could obtain public support for the cause as early as possible. 

Another group of friends I wish to thank are the wonderful people at Spectrum who had agreed to allow Joel to accompany David at the race as his personal “medic-cum-water boy-cum-human energy gel dispenser –cum candy feeder” even though he wasn't able to register for a spot as a race participant in time.  Originally, Joel wasn’t intending to be a participant at the half marathon.  In fact, to get him to walk the dogs was enough of  an issue, let alone getting him to run a half marathon.  However, he wanted to be there for his pops in case he gets into any medical difficulties.  As a nurse-in-training, Joel felt that he could support David along the way during his race.  So, with the help of the team at Spectrum, Joel finally got his race pack and he was ready to draw a red cross on the front of his race bib.

To these friends, to the wonderful PR pals at Fulford, and Chris at Spectrum, I just wanted to say a big thank you and to let you know that your gestures really touched our hearts.

The “Hinderers”

Of course when we actively campaign for any form of support for a cause, one will encounter the enthusiastic supporters who genuinely care about the cause, as well as the apathetic ones who simply dismiss David as the "crazy foreigner who's probably smoking dope". Honestly, that’s really ok. I meet with skepticism about my Tarot reading skills daily, and these skeptics think I am a witch!  However, I do get annoyed with a particular group of people whom I had termed as the “hinderers”.  These are the lot who, through their unnecessary “go –by- the- book” approach would hinder a genuine attempt to help a cause.  I have placed them in the same category as The Establishment-hired “clipboard-toters” whom I often talked about.

I acknowledge that in a world obsessed by the perfect structure of corporate bureaucracy, there are many people who are just not empowered to do the right thing, or make the right decisions. These people are too frightened of lending support to "off-the-wall" ideas. And if the idea doesn't "fit into the plan or the business objectives" they wouldn't want to be part of it, for fear of the extra effort they may need to put into something that could possibly be classified as "out of scope" of their usual workload, and not tracked as a KPI. I have decided to list a few examples of these here so that those who attempt similar projects for the genuine passion of supporting a favorite charity, should be aware of the need to be detached from this lot and stay focused on the goal of supporting the charity.

One of these "Hinderers" are the people at Standard Chartered Bank, the sponsor of the race, who profess to be Here For Good. Their extremely appalling customer servicing is one story I shall leave for another blog entry. For the purpose of this blog post, I shall focus on their lack of response to David's call for support. David had been calling them to get them to create some publicity around the cause. However, like their customer servicing style, they tried to keep him Here in limbo For Good by passing his call from one person to another and to another and to another, with promises to return his calls repeatedly. Of course, they didn't call back.

Another of these "Hinderers" is a press publication who initially promised to run the story in the week running up to the event, after much hard work from the Fulford PR team. The intention was to run the story as early as possible so that David could garner more support for the CCF. However, at the last minute, the publication had decided not to run the story, providing no explanation at all. I can't help but feel that it may not be deemed news-worthy because the person in the ape costume wasn't Singaporean. I am quite disappointed because surely, amongst the hundreds of press clippings about bus drivers going on strike, they could surely find room to run a story to support David's fund-raising efforts towards the CCF cause.

The reality has just dawned on me that it's just 1 day to David's half marathon. However, David is better than I in that he would never allow the "Hinderers" to ruin his enthusiasm. It in fact fueled his fire to want to complete the race, and I will be there at the finishing line to receive him for sure, while holding a placard with the names of ALL the supporters who had been there for him, in some way or other, encouraging, helping, donating and advising him.

Postscript: To those who have already supported David in his fund raising efforts, thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts. If you haven't, I would appreciate your supporting David’s endeavor and donating generously to the Children’s Cancer Foundation through this link:

About the writer:

The writer of this blog post is a 43 year old mother of one, who spreads her time between her day job as a marketeer at a financial institution, her hobby as a certified professional tarot reader and numerologist, and her family which includes a 19 year old son.  She's married to a Scot who has been affectionately called "The Crazy AngMo" and prays that he does not find out that the term when translated, has labeled him as a "Ginger Head".

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