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Fighting for a Cause
I grew up in rural South Western Ontario on my family’s century farm. My life was one that was comfortable, familiar and full of family. But life has a funny way of changing and I would never have imagined where it has led me to today. I moved to Singapore, graduating out of Teacher’s College, to begin my life as a teacher and thinking I would be home soon. Eight years later, I still live and work in Singapore with my husband Kelso, from the Isle of Man, U.K., whom I met here. I have travelled extensively throughout Asia and have become a part-time pugilist. No, this was not a part of my plan.
I love being a Canadian abroad. It allows me to spread my wings but also share my roots with new people and cultures almost daily through my students and my travels. Throughout my years overseas, I have grown to truly understand how lucky I am to be Canadian. As a Canadian, we have access to education and medical care for free. I have learned about, met and helped others who are not so lucky.
When I visit Cambodia it feels like my home away from home. There is something wonderful about this country and the people who live there. Despite living through many hardships brought on by years of civil war and a horrific genocide led by Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge regime, it is a place where community and people come together and help each other when they can. Just like home.
I have taken many opportunities to lend my own hands to the people in Cambodia when I visit. I have built houses for those who have never had a home that could withstand the elements, donated items and money to organizations that help provide shelter, food and education to children, supported organizations that save women and children from a life of trafficking. All have been rewarding and all organizations are there to build a future for people who need it most.
My most recent work in Cambodia has married two things I have become very passionate about – helping others and boxing. On April 20th, I will be stepping into a boxing ring in front of more than 1,300 people at a black tie, charity boxing match in Singapore to raise money for the Children's Surgical Centre in Cambodia. This hospital provides FREE rehabilitative medical care to the poorest of Cambodian people. I am just a regular person with no background in boxing other than what I do for fitness. However, I have been training extensively for this event since the beginning of January. Along with the physical challenge of battling it out against my competitor in the ring for 3 rounds, I am also challenging myself with raising the most amount of money I possibly can to support the cause.
I have personally travelled to the hospital in Cambodia and witnessed surgeries; skin grafts for acid burn victims and life changing eye surgeries first hand, and also met some of the people that rely on this hospital to survive.
A portion of the ticket sales for the event goes to the hospital, but the real work not only happens during the training and in the ring – it is in seeking others to help in the fundraising because every penny counts. There are not many opportunities where 6 minutes of your life can raise so much money and change someone else’s life for the better. I have to make it count.
So, I’d ask all the readers of this article to view my blog, where you can read more about the Children’s Surgical Centre, my daily training, fundraising and most importantly where you can donate and make a difference.
By Keriann “K.O’ O’Rourke