Mumbai: From spreading awareness on organ donation to raising funds for wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs, health-related causes topped the Mumbai Marathon’s Dream Run, with a sizeable chunk of participants carrying placards and posters with such messages.
Rajiv Mehta, trustee, Ratna Nidhi Charitable Trust, said his organisation has raised Rs. 3.5 lakh through the event. Mr. Mehta, who was accompanied by 92 runners who work and support his organisation, said the money will be used in manufacturing the Jaipur Foot, a rubber-based prosthetic limb for below-the-knee amputees. “We have been participating in the marathon for three years now to increase mobility of people in need. Through this event, we have provided around 600 Jaipur Foot to those in need,” said Mr. Mehta. He said the prosthetic limbs will be for people in Leh and Ladhak, where his organisation will be holding a camp in June.
A group of 1,000-odd volunteers from the Shrimad Rajchandra Mission participated in the Dream Run to raise funds for superior medical facilities and healthcare for tribal populations. “Our volunteers and supporters have raised Rs. 3.4 crore through this event, which will be used for the construction of a charitable hospital in Valsad district of Gujarat, which will mainly cater to the tribal population,” Utppal Mehta from the NGO said. Last year, the NGO raised money for the construction of a science college in Gujarat, which has already been inaugurated. The master plans for the hospital are ready and work has commenced, and the members hope the construction will now begin in full earnest.
Another volunteers’ group from the Epilepsy Foundation sought to spread awareness about the condition with the message, ‘Epilepsy is like black money, get it out of your mind’. “We have been participating for the past five years to raise funds for free treatment,” said Dr. Nirmal Surya, the organisation’s founder, adding that many patients have also undergone surgeries for free. Surgeries for epilepsy cost over Rs. 1 lakh. Dr. Surya added that they manage to raise Rs. 15 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh through the marathon each year.
A group of Allcargo Logistics employees from Mazagaon ran to support Save The Children India. Their jerseys bore quirky slogans supporting their cause, adapted from popular Bollywood movies, like ‘ Acche school ki keemat tum kya jaano Ramesh Babu ’; ‘ Rishte main toh hum tumhaare teacher lagte hai ’; and ‘ ye clean paani humko dede thakur ’.
Charity kitty growing
According to the organisers, over 1,200 people were involved in fund-raising activities, including 236 below 21 years of age. While the amount raised this year is yet to be made public, 2016 saw Rs. 28.13 crore being raised. In its maiden edition, the marathon had raised Rs. 1.44 crore.
United Way Mumbai, the official philanthropy partner, said 249 NGOs participated this year. The not-for-profit organisation, which has designed and facilitated the charity platform, had extended the option to participants to be ‘special partners’, and raise funds or run for a cause.
Jayanti Shukla, CEO, United Way Mumbai, said, “The marathon highlights the generosity of countless people who want to make a difference. We have always been driven to help those who work so hard to make lives better for the less fortunate.”