Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Five Legs Never Quit

Fung Kam-hung proves amputees can do it too
Every once in a while you come across someone who has the Lion Rock spirit and today it's Fung Kam-hung, a 63-year-old amputee who lost his leg in a traffic accident 36 years ago.

He, along with his wife Chong Bing-ying, 57, and a lawyer Raymond Chak Man-lai, 41, Will be racing 250km on foot in Chile's Atacama Desert within seven days to raise money for the Hong Kong Amputees Association.

Fung's team is called Five Legs Never Quit, and the will be among 183 others competing from around the world.

Fung (centre) with his wife (left) and Raymond Chak
The retired administrator admits, "I'm quite scared. We have to walk 40km every day, carrying 7kg to 8kg on our backs. But to me, exercise is like an addiction -- you start small, then you keep on wanting to challenge yourself more."

Fung took up running 12 years ago after being part of the support team for his wife who has been competing in the Oxfam Trailwalker for more than 10 years. Oxfam Trailwalker is a 100km charity hiking race from Sai Kung to Yuen Long.

"I was pat of her support team, then I wanted to accompany her in the challenge," he says.

Since then he too has competed in Trailwalker and also Standard Chartered's annual 21km half marathon and 42km full marathon.

It has also helped that the development of prostheses has made it less painful and dangerous for people like Fung.

"Many of us are scared of doing exercises on land because it's easy to get injured -- before [there were quality prosthetics for exercising], each step caused friction to my stump and it would get painful after a prolonged period of running," he says.

Fung says the development of prosthetics helps him run better
To prepare for his latest challenge, Fung and Chong go on 20km hikes three to four times a week in Sai Kung or Fanling, and every weekend meet Chak on Lantau Island to hike from morning to evening.

"We try to trek through rivers and uneven trails -- once even during a red rainstorm warning -- because at least that could give me an idea of what difficulties I would meet [in the desert] and what solutions I could have. It's all a matter of whether you are prepared or not," Fung says.

"With my wife, I feel more at ease competing in such challenging events," he says in tribute to his wife of 32 years. "She is my coach and she knows best [the needs due to] my prosethetic limb."

Meanwhile Chak has competed in this upcoming race three times before.

Fung really does have the fighting spirit and age is not a barrier.

"I want to give out a positive message. I want to tell people that I dare to do it and I dare to accomplish," Fung says. "I want [able-bodied] people to look at me and ask, 'Why can't I do it if he can?'"

The fact that he wants to attempt this race and is training hard for it is definitely putting the rest of us to shame.

We wish him and his team Five Legs Never Quit the best of luck!

For more information (mostly in Chinese), check out their Facebook page.

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