Gulf News reader Olga Zolotova's campaign is to provide toys for the Children Cancer Hospital in Karachi, Pakistan. Image Credit: Olga Zolotova


I was standing near a Christmas tree at a shopping mall, recently, when I saw a child who was perhaps five or six years old. He was in a wheelchair and it was quite obvious he was undergoing treatment. He was gazing up at the tree and so, I asked him about what he wanted from Santa Claus this year. His reply was: “Santa will not come to me because I am sick. But if he comes to you, will you tell him about me?”

The little boy’s words touched me to the very core of my heart. That was the moment I decided that I would dedicate my next challenge to children with cancer.

In October 2015, I fulfilled my first sport challenge for charity. It was a 400km solo cycling event, wherein I traversed the seven emirates in 24 hours. The challenge was dedicated to support children’s education in developing countries, with a local charity organisation. Since then, I was thinking of my next endeavour and which charity I could support. That’s when I met the little boy.

He has inspired me to take up the initiative of running 200km in 24 hours, along Jumeirah Beach, Dubai. The event will take place from December 29 to December 30, and is in partnership with the Egypt-based charity organisation Marwa Fayed’s Toy Run and Aramex.

We are aiming to collect 100kg of toys, which will be sent to Pakistan and distributed at the Children Cancer Hospital (CCH) in Karachi. Based on Karachi Cancer Registry statistics, it is estimated that about 7,000 to 7,500 children get cancer every year in Pakistan. Today, there are more than 50,000 children in Pakistan suffering from cancer and more than 10,000 will see Christmas and the New Year pass by on the hospital’s bed.

Each of these children deserves to find a present under the Christmas tree in the morning. But for most of them, it is becoming difficult to believe in miracles, as in the case of the young boy I met. Together, I’m sure we can help them to believe again.

I am practicing for the challenge and collecting toys at the same time. I have always liked running, and have covered 100km a couple of times, but 200km will be my new personal challenge. Training requires time and effort, but the most important thing is to improve one’s mind-set, which also requires a lot of dedication and motivation.

This holiday season provides a great opportunity for us to do something special for someone by extending just a little effort. If you would like to contribute to my charity campaign, just donate a toy. Any toy of any size would be a great means of support for these children. Even one small toy can make a big difference in a child’s Christmas morning.

For donations, please contact me through Facebook or email at olga.inspired@gmail.com or just give me a call on my mobile number: 050 6506327. We are open for donations till December 29, 2015. Together, let’s help these children to believe again.

— The reader is based in Dubai.

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