I know that the journey always begins in my mind. Once I start on something, giving up is not an option. I cannot be defined by my limitations.Harun Rahamad is an advocate for persons with special needs, encouraging them to go beyond their limitations and overcome obstacles. Born with cerebral palsy, he lives out his advocacy through actively participating in sports. He has completed six Spartan Races, a world-renowned obstacle course recognised for its difficulty. As a member of the YMCA Inclusive Climbers in 2019, Harun is back to take on the challenge this year to reach the top.
Being disabled doesn’t mean unable.Oh Siew May was born with cerebral palsy, a disorder that affects muscular control and body movements. Growing up, she overcame many challenges, including family situations and social prejudice. One of her greatest achievements is conquering Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia. Having been part of the team of YMCA Inclusive Climbers in 2019, May hopes to complete the challenge this year, defying all odds.
Fear should never make us back down. Fear should cause us to challenge ourselves and to rise higher.Having suffered a stroke when he was just 24, Dr Darren Chua took two years to recover fully. Now 44, he is an ASEAN Para Games medallist and ongoing competitor in table tennis. He is also committed to inspire and empower others with special needs. This will be Dr Darren’s first time taking on the Special Needs Inclusive Challenge, so do cheer him on!
I want others to see us for who we are.Project Superstar 2005 winner Kelvin Tan Wei Lian has made a name for himself through his achievements in music and sports – having competed later in the ASEAN Para Games 2018 as a bowler. Living as a blind person, he believes strongly in advocating and raising awareness for persons with special needs so they may be recognised for their abilities and personalities, rather than be defined by their medical conditions. Do follow his journey up Mt Fuji and show your support for his meaningful message!
He is very tough and resilient. He always gives his best and does not give up easily. I am proud of him. – Ek Jin's MotherHaving conquered the waters, he now challenges himself on land. Once unable to complete his primary school's compulsory swimming lessons, Siau Ek Jin, who has a mild intellectual disability, persevered and trained every single day for years, eventually joining Singapore’s Special Olympics Swim Team. He has done the nation proud at various international competitions, even clinching a bronze medal at the Special Olympics World Games 2019, held in Abu Dhabi. Now, he takes on the YMCA Inclusive Challenge in hopes of challenging himself to reach new heights. His dedication and strong will serve as great encouragement to his peers.
I’m excited to do this. I can do this!Ryan, who has Down syndrome, is a sweet and caring individual. His father shares how Ryan seemed to sense when he was tired and would give him hugs. However, the public avoided interaction with Ryan due to a lack of understanding, creating social isolation. He hopes that the YMCA Inclusive Challenge will show the public that persons with special needs can achieve great heights, and serve as a platform to build better understanding towards persons with special needs.
Cher Xuan is cheerful by nature. He is a very outdoors person, and enjoys dragon boating and many other activities. We are overjoyed when we see him learning, growing, and showing happiness in his daily life. – Cher Xuan’s MotherCher Xuan, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, is living proof of how persons with special needs can live wildly colourful and fulfilling lives. He plays various musical instruments, sings in a choir, does dragon boating and even gardening, among other activities. With his amicable personality, he is well-liked by his peers and impresses those around him with his learning abilities and determined attitude. This year, he joins the YMCA Inclusive Challenge to further build his confidence and physical capabilities while striving to reach new heights.
I am excited to do this, I want to be like a mountain climber!Described by his loved ones as a "teddy bear", Gareth is gentle but strong. He pursues his interests passionately, including running, swimming, and photography. Gareth also partakes in outdoor activities regularly to keep fit. After graduating from Pathlight School, he is now studying broadcast and media at ITE College Central. He also helps out with his father’s IT business. He radiates happiness to those around him and is excited to complete the YMCA Inclusive Challenge.
The YMCA Inclusive Challenge is an awareness and fundraising event in support of youth with special needs. Funds raised will go to our special needs programmes so youth with special needs can lead an even more independent and dignified life.