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Passionate runners go the distance

Last month, Run For Hope was held virtually, for a second time, to give runners a way to socially distance and still participate in a meaningful event. Despite the unconventional format, the event had diverse groups of runners taking part, including a group of National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) staff and members of the public who simply wanted to do their part to support cancer research. 

Run For Hope started in 1998, when Mr Isadore Sharp, CEO and founder of Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, spearheaded a worldwide movement in memory of his son who lost his life due to cancer. A non-competitive, leisure run, Run For Hope brings people together to raise awareness and support for innovative cancer research. NCCS has partnered with Four Seasons Hotels to organise Run For Hope in Singapore since 2008.

“We’re running for hope!”

The NCCS Cancer Genetics Service running team have a very fitting motto, “Running is in our genes!” Staying true to their motto, they have participated in Run For Hope consecutively, for the past six years. With each run the Cancer Genetics Service team hopes to raise awareness of the importance of cancer genetics research, which ultimately improves patients’ lives and wellbeing.  An added bonus is that running together gives the team a way to have fun outside of work, and keep fit. Working from home had reduced social interaction between colleagues on the Cancer Genetics Service team, but Run For Hope brought together interns, former colleagues, patients and families to train and run. Although they were unable to physically gather for the usual, large-scale event, they got creative and organised smaller running groups to complete the virtual event. 


The Cancer Genetics Service (CGS) team posing post Run For Hope 2016. From left to right, Dr Joanne Ngeow (CGS Head), Diana Ishak (CGS Research Coordinator), Li Shao-Tzu (CGS Senior Genetic Counsellor).


A candid shot of the members of the CGS clinical, lab, intern and research teams at Run For Hope 2018.


All smiles as the National Cancer Centre Singapore’s Cancer Genetics Service team and their families join in the fun at Run For Hope 2019.

Running for hope, as an individual

Run For Hope also attracted the participation and support of members of the public who were keen to raise awareness and funds for cancer care and research. Mr Lee Shao Xiang appeared at the top of the Run For Hope 2021 Leaderboard as he singlehandedly raised $2,200, the largest amount among individual runners last year.

Shao Xiang’s next-door neighbour, who lost his mother to cancer, first invited him to participate in Run For Hope in 2015. Participating in the event made Shao Xiang realise the importance of community care and support for cancer patients and survivors. It also made him aware that cancer research is key to improving cancer care.   

Last year marked Shao Xiang’s third time participating in Run For Hope. As to why he takes part, Shao Xiang shared, “I’m just your everyday Singaporean wanting to better serve the community and inspire others to do the same. The fact that I can enjoy running while raising funds also suits my active lifestyle!”  

Shao Xiang’s training includes a mix of exercises such as running, swimming and cycling.  He completed a full 28km run in the November preceding Run For Hope, running from Bedok to Punggol and finally ending in Pasir Ris. With the new virtual run format, Shao Xiang was able to share his profile on the Run For Hope Leaderboard with family and friends through social media and messaging platforms to raise funds. Shao Xiang went the extra mile to share interesting tips about cancer research with them every week. Many donated to support Shao Xiang and sent him encouraging messages, which he is ever grateful for. 


Lee Shao Xiang takes a selfie to celebrate finishing a good run!

In total, 1,322 runners participated in Run For Hope 2021 and $140,560 was raised. With cancer remaining the leading cause of death worldwide, it is heartening that the NCCS community comes together to support the fight against cancer.

To support cancer research visit the NCCS Cancer Fund website. To find out how you can volunteer and support cancer patients, please contact or visit the NCCS Volunteer page.