We’ve witnessed many sports events and how they unite people, breaking boundaries of racial, ethnic, social, and economic backgrounds. Beyond the manifestation of athleticism is the promotion of acceptance, respect, tolerance, and equality.
With a goal of creating an inclusive society, sports is now used as an advocacy to make a difference.
“Through the power of sports, we will discover new strengths and abilities,” FWD Life insurance Philippines President and Chief Executive Officer Peter Grimes says.
Accepting People with Intellectual Disability
World Health Organization states that intellectual disability—like autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, among others—is the largest developmental disability in the world, comprising three percent or nearly 200 million people of the world’s population.
Partnering with Special Olympics, the world’s largest sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities, is FWD’s way to focus on people’s gifts and foster their physical, cognitive, and social development.
The partnership is a commitment to support Special Olympics’ initiatives: the ‘Unified Schools’ program which invites schools and communities to various sports activities; the “Athlete Leadership” program which trains hundreds of athletes with intellectual disabilities to develop leadership skills, and the “End the R-word” campaign that calls to stop using the word ‘retarded’ to refer to people with intellectual disabilities.
Among the present guests were the Special Olympics Philippines National Director, Kaye Samson, and Brina Kei Maxino, diagnosed with Down syndrome who finished AB History and is now a pre-kinder assistant teacher, a global youth ambassador, and an inspirational speaker.
Respecting People with a Story of Survival
He triumphed over cancer before—diagnosed with cancer of the appendix when he was 21, now his victory continues after surviving the 42-kilometer FWD North Pole Marathon held on April 16, 2018.
Finishing the world’s coolest race in 11 hours and four minutes amid extreme weather conditions (-32 degrees centigrade), multi-sport athlete and healthy lifestyle advocate Louie Sangalang truly embodies the Filipino strength and spirit.
Sangalang claims that it was the freezing temperature which made the race more challenging. “Around 75% to 80% of the course was in snowy, uneven terrain which made it difficult to find firm footing. As a result, we had to walk on some parts of the race course,” he shares.
Sangalang is among the 62 participants from 23 countries who participated in what is tagged by the Guinness Book of World Records as the “Northernmost Marathon on Earth.” Supported by a team that helped him to be physically and emotionally prepared, Sangalang survived yet another test of resilience.
Encouraging people to live life to the fullest, FWD Life Philippines Head of Marketing Roche Vandenberghe says, “We are here to encourage people to overcome their fears and fulfill their biggest dreams.”
If braving the North Pole is not living life to the fullest, I don’t know what is.