It was on December 23, last year that 49-year-old Wendelin Lauxen, a member of the exclusive Seven Continents Club, began his fortnight-long solo Seven Emirates Run.
His mission: to run across the UAE touching all seven emirates to raise funds for Diya Al Aster, a 17-year-old boy from the West Bank who required surgery to correct a deformity in his right leg.
"My background in nursing and surgery made me even more concerned for the plight of Diya. He had to be operated on urgentlyso that he could start living a normal life," says Lauxen.
Diya was born with a leg deformity that impaired his ability to engage in most physical activities.
Once the required amount of Dh50,000 was raised, Diya was flown to Dubai and was operated upon by a surgical team of The Little Wings Foundation at Medcare Hospital.
Lauxen, a German businessman, became acquainted with The Little Wings Foundation through the PCRF (Palestine Children's Relief Fund) when he visited Dubai on business.
A passionate runner, Lauxen says that health is just one of the reasons that motivates him to pursue his passion for sport.
"I run for a variety of reasons: for health and stamina [mental and physical]; to strike a balance between work and play; see new places and meet people from different cultural backgrounds; for self-discipline and motivation; and for charity - to help needy people with the donations that I get to raise.
"For instance, I participated in the Antarctica Marathon because I wanted to support the treatment of venous and lymphatic disorders. Similarly, I did this marathon for Diya, to give him a chance to live a normal life and the promise of a better future."
On January 3, 2011, after only 12 days, Lauxen finished his gruelling 573.5km run that covered all the seven emirates. He began near the Emirates Towers in Dubai and ended at the Abu Dhabi Corniche near the Emirates Palace.
Lauxen's race for Diya is just the beginning of his plan to initiate a major fund-raising marathon later this year.
What drives him to undertake such projects? "Optimism and my belief in [having] a mission and vision in life," says Lauxen.