Roche Children’s Walk 2019: Let’s go!

A walk from the heart for young patients with chronic kidney disease

Roche Thailand’s annual mission to bring joy to society

 

Bangkok – In recognition of our shared belief that every child deserves a happy life in comfort, 400 employees of Roche Diagnostics (Thailand) Limited and Roche Thailand Limited – led by Mr. Pichetpong Srisuwankul, Managing Director of Roche Diagnostics (Thailand) Limited – recently organized the annual Roche Children’s Walk fundraising event. Now into its 16th year and held under the theme of ‘Let’s go!’, the event seeks to provide support for youth suffering from medical conditions as well as their family members in gaining equal access to improved medical care that enables them to live a better life through financial contributions for healthcare. This year, employees and the two companies came together to raise a total of 862,000 baht in funding. Half of the fund has been presented to the Kidney for Kids fund, which is operated by the Children’s Foundation at Phramongkutklao Hospital, while the other half was provided to charity organizations supporting children in need nationwide. Napha-orn Phawichit, Ph.D., Deputy Director of the hospital’s Pediatrics Department, was joined by fellow doctors, nurses, and hospital staff as well as young patients with chronic renal conditions and their parents in enjoying various recreational activities, welcoming the visiting Roche delegation, and bolstering morale for the children with heartfelt presents.

Napha-orn Phawichit, Ph.D., Deputy Director of the Pediatrics Department at the Phramongkutklao Hospital, said that renal conditions require special and continuous care and treatment. Young patients will require even greater care that corresponds to their physical and mental development, and costs incurred both directly and indirectly from this treatment can run high. Many families are struggling financially as parents may have to leave their jobs in order to give their children the care they require. Support from the private sector through initiatives such as this can be very beneficial to society and a great measure of support for families of the affected.

“I have to thank Roche for placing such importance in supporting those in need. This program has helped the children and their families grow more hopeful and encouraged in fighting their conditions and living their lives. We hope that the program will continue in the coming years as the Foundation will be using these donations to account for treatment costs as well as expenses related to the day-to-day life of the patients and their families.”

Pichetpong Srisuwankul, Managing Director of Roche Diagnostics Thailand Limited, added that the fundraiser represents Roche’s global commitment as a company dedicated to improving quality of life for all. The company has been fostering a commitment to make positive contributions to society across its employees, and the global-scale Roche Children’s Walk fundraiser program underlines the generosity and volunteer spirit that reside in every Roche employee. In Thailand, the Roche group of companies has organized the Children’s Walk activity for 16 consecutive years.

“All of us at Roche are delighted and proud to see our fellow employees come together to raise this fund. While many of us have to deal with tight schedules, we still managed to come here and bring joy to children with renal diseases as well as their families. We hugely admire the work of doctors, nurses, and all personnel at Phramongkutklao Hospital, and we admire the incredible love and tireless dedication they have for the patients.”

Col. Kongkraphan Srisuwan, Pediatrician and Chief of the Pediatric Nephrology Department at Phramongkutklao Hospital, noted that young children need opportunities to grow, learn, and take part in activities that match their individual interests. However, those suffering from chronic renal conditions have to face additional demands on all fronts – from financial expenses to physical and mental effort as well as time spent recovering at the hospital instead of studying at school. While they retain hope of a full recovery to a life of normalcy, the cost of treatment for these conditions can be prohibitively high.

“Young patients with kidney diseases need highly attentive care from parents as well as treatments that can be very costly. While there are public healthcare services as well as contributions from the Kidney for Kids fund by the Children’s Foundation that can partially cover the costs of elements like a dialysis, these children and their families still have to face other challenges – from day-to-day living expenses as parents leave their jobs to take care of the children to additional costs involving travel to and from the hospital as well as costs related to additional medical equipment and supplies. Since these expenses are not covered by publicly available programs, we are very grateful for Roche’s understanding of these issues and active financial support to help more children gain access to appropriate care.”

Ms. Tanaporn Thoopputsar, Senior Marketing Executive – Marketing Communication of Roche Diagnostics (Thailand) Limited, was happy and proud to be part of Roche Children’s Walk. This year, funds raised by activities under the program as well as donations from fellow employees were presented to the “We Believe – PMK Kidney Kids Care” program under the Pediatric Nephrology Department, Pediatrics Division of the Phramongkutklao Hospital. Employees organized a sale of various second-hand goods on the fundraising day, while fun activities like raffles, sweepstakes, food sales, and auctions added to the contributions. The company also matched the employees’ collective contributions with its own donation to support needy children from countries such as Malawi, Ethiopia, and the Philippines.

“Through my participation in this activity, I realized how much support is needed in terms of financial backing and availability of medical tools and supplies for children with kidney conditions. As a Roche employee, I hope that the funds raised from our activities will be able to spark joy in the children, empowering them to overcome this illness and become bright talents for our future.”

Ms. Chompunuch Thawutsakul, Compliance and SHE Manager for Roche Thailand Limited, spoke of her pride as a member of the Roche family. The company’s social contributions made her realize that her efforts did not only have a positive impact on herself and her family but also patients, their families, and society at large.

“When I first learned about Roche Children’s Walk 2019, I began to wonder. I did not know that even children could suffer from kidney diseases. After our activities, I have come to understand that quite a large number of children face these conditions, and they have to endure many difficulties to access proper treatment from medical experts in this specific field. Roche has made all this a possibility for these patients and brought real joy to them – and we can see that in their eyes and their smiles as well as ours,” Ms. Chompunuch added.

Roche Children’s Walk is an annual global activity aimed at supporting children in their recovery back to normal life and further development into skilled, educated adults for a brighter future. The program began life as a fundraising drive for HIV-positive children. Since then, it has been expanded to cover more aspects of quality living for children – including food, education, housing, and health.