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21 August 2018, 18:23

Opinion: Minsk Half Marathon is bringing charity into focus

MINSK, 21 August (BelTA) – The role of the Minsk Half Marathon as a platform to implement charity projects is getting more pronounced, Chairman of the Belarusian Athletics Federation Vadim Devyatovsky told the media on 21 August, BelTA has learned.

The charity run that will take place on 9 September will be one of the highlights of the Minsk Half Marathon. The organizers call for joining the fundraising campaign to support four projects for children. Each of the projects is expected to raise Br20,000. “We have recently spoken about the Aleksei Talay Foundation, however, we will not stay aside from other charity organizations that want to use our platform to give more exposure to the plight of people in need. Some issues are difficult to handle alone. At the same time, when we team up, such issues get bigger publicity. Well-known people with an active stance get involved. We are glad that starting this year the half marathon will have a bigger focus on charity,” Vadim Devyatovsky said.

He expressed confidence that participation of celebrities and athletes will draw many people. While doing this running challenge, fledgling runners will dedicate their small victories to those who need help.

The idea of the charity marathon was proposed by the charity sports association Angel Wings Team. Its participants (those are mostly parents whose children have disabilities) and athletes, a total of about 70 people, will take part in the run. Angel Wings Team leader Dmitry Timashkov said that for the first time in the history of Belarus, the charity run will be joined by several children diagnosed with psychological and physical disorders. In fact, this is the essence of the “Running for Socializing” project for which the Angel Wings are raising funds. This project is meant for children with psychological and physical disorders. The money will be spent on special wheelchairs enabling teenagers and adults living in special care facilities to take part in marathons. This project will facilitate social inclusion through sports.

Director of the Chance Foundation Natalia Makhanko told about the Searching for the Gene project. The charity is raising funds to pay for expensive genetic tests for children with severe neurological diseases. These tests will allow establishing the definite diagnosis, adjusting treatment protocols, determining risks of transmitting hereditary diseases onto the offspring. Such tests are not included into the list of government-sponsored healthcare services and cost Br1,300 per one child. “This project will help establish the right diagnosis for 15 children. However, the more funds we raise, the more children will benefit from it,” Natalia Makhanko said.

The BLAGOustroim! project of the Belarusian Children's Hospice is meant to help the Stork summer camp in Stolbtsy District to buy and install an adaptive playground. Since 2001 the center has been welcoming children with special needs from all over Belarus.

Director General of SOS-Children's Villages Tatyana Burova noted that this is the first time the organization has joined a sports initiative. The money the organization wants to raise will be used to pay for the work of psychologists and counselors, to purchase essential articles for children, learning aids, and other things.

The Healthcare Ministry has been supporting various charities for a long time. It cooperates with a number of foundations and public associations.

In 2018 the Minsk Half Marathon will be held for the fourth time. Some 35,000 people are expected to take part in the event vs. 30,000 people last year. The 21.1km half marathon will start at 9.00 on 9 September. The 5.5km and 10km marathons will kick off at 12.00. The event has the Road Race Bronze Label status of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and five stars of quality and safety of the European Athletics Association. The route will go through the center of the Belarusian capital.

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