Dubai: Swimming, cycling, paddling and running along the city’s 52.5 kilometre shoreline in five hours will be one resident’s quest in raising donations for the Dubai Autism Centre.
Franky Spencer, 40, from the UK, will be completing a charity quadrathlon on February 28, and hopes that his efforts will bring in a significant contribution towards the new building of the Dubai Autism Centre (DAC).
“The centre caters to 46 students but that is not enough, because there are 270 more students on the waiting list. I want to do the quadrathlon to not only help children with autism but also for their parents, as it is such a huge challenge for them when communication takes its toll,” said Spencer, a fitness instructor.
DAC is a non-profit organisation that provides information, support, advice and training to professionals and parents of children with autism.
Although Spencer has been inactive for the last three years due to a burst in two of his spinal discs, he explained that he will swim 500 metres across Mamzar Lagoon, then cycle 30km to Jumeirah Beach, and paddle 10km to The Palm, before finishing with a 12km run.
“There are a lot of awareness events for cancer but not enough for children with special need. Since I’ve always done charity work, I thought that this is one cause that certainly needs more awareness. It is our city and we should all put our efforts in helping out,” he said.
Work on the centre’s new building began in 2007 but was delayed due to the economic downturn and lack of funds. Once completed, the centre will be able to cater to as many as 300 autistic children.
Autism is a disorder of neural development characterised by impaired social interaction and verbal and non-verbal communication. In is a spectrum condition, which means that while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways.
“If this is a success, then I intend to organise it into a race next year. If we get a mass response, then there’s more hope for the children and for them to get a bigger centre,” he added.