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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Disabled children benefit from swim across Mekong

Disabled children benefit from swim across Mekong

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Australian swimmer Ray Walker with his certificate after the charity event.

Disable children in Cambodia will benefit from an Australian man’s participation in Sunday’s Mekong River Swim near Phnom Penh.

Ray Walker, 58, overcame a quadruple heart bypass shortly after his last attempt at the swim six years ago, but even a knee injury didn’t prevent him from taking part in this year’s event.

“Thanks to a wonderful lady at Seeing Hands massage, my knees were nurtured back to health just in time for me to complete the swim,” said Walker, from the Adelaide Hills in South Australia.

“Even though an enthusiastic swimmer in the pool, this is the first time I have undertaken an open-water swim since having the heart surgery.

“So it was very much a personal challenge as well as an extremely worthwhile opportunity to raise much-needed funds for the Komar Pikar (Disabled Children) Foundation,” he said after the swim.

Walker has been involved with Cambodian charities since his first visit to the Kingdom visiting programmes run by Friends of InterPart in 2001.

He took part in a 1,000-kilometre cycle ride that year around central Cambodia along with Man Veasna, who plays for the Cambodian National Volleyball League (Disabled).

“During the three-week event, we raised funds for programmes run by the Komar Pikar Foundation, as well as advocating awareness of the plight of disabled people in Cambodia. One particular stage of the event created much media attention, when 15 amputee riders joined us for the 200-km stage between Siem Reap and Battambang – it was such a wonderful spectacle that drew curious onlookers out of their homes to cheer us on,” said Walker.

The Komar Pikar Foundation provides education and therapy for severely disabled children at the Rabbit School which began its activities in May 1998 in Phnom Penh.

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