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Rockstar ‘Toon’ sets Bt45m-pace on the first day

Rockstar ‘Toon’ sets Bt45m-pace on the first day

ON THE FIRST DAY of his 2,191-kilometre run under the campaign “Kao Kon La Kao”, or “Take One Step Each”, rock star Artiwara “Toon” Kongmalai attracted as much as Bt45 million in donations, a source at the charity project said yesterday.

As Artiwara and other participants started running at 6.09am yesterday from the mouth of Betong Mongkolrit Tunnel in Yala’s Betong district, many members of the public gathered to give encouragement as well as flowers and cash donations. Among the supporters were Fourth Army commander Lt-General Piyawat Nakwanich and Yala Governor Anuchit Trakulmuthuta, who represented the campaign in receiving the first batch of Bt300,000 in donations from members of the public during the opening ceremony. Artiwara was due to finish the first day of the run at the Toh Kusae Bridge in Yala’s Than To district, covering 50.9km, later yesterday.

Artiwara, who fronts the band Bodyslam, is aiming to raise more than Bt700 million during the cross-country run to be donated to 11 hospitals that lack proper medical equipment, but the campaign has been criticised that it is only a short-term solution that will not tackle the fundamental financial problems facing hospitals. Prior to beginning the run, Artiwara said he respected everyone’s opinions regarding the campaign and related issues while asking people who agreed with him to help with the cause. He added that he had practiced running “the hardest in my life” to prepare and wanted to see people coming together to help as happened during his previous 400-kilometer run over 10 days, which raised more than Bt70 million for Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Bang Saphan Hospital last year.

Prior to beginning the run, Artiwara said he respected everyone’s opinions regarding the campaign and related issues while asking people who agreed with him to help with the cause. He added that he had practiced running “the hardest in my life” to prepare and wanted to see people coming together to help as happened during his previous 400-kilometer run over 10 days, which raised more than Bt70 million for Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Bang Saphan Hospital last year. From yesterday to December 25, Artiwara will run from Thailand’s southernmost point in Betong to the northernmost tip of the country in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district. On Tuesday, the Royal Thai Airforce (RTA) stated that it had not arranged a special flight for the campaign

A C-130 aircraft had been on a preassigned military deployment in Pattani’s Bor Thong district and it had 30 seats left empty, which were allocated to the Phramongkutklao Hospital Foundation based on its request, according to RTA spokesman Air Vice Marshal Pongsak Semachai.  Social media users had speculated the flight had been specially arranged, which Pongsak denied. The hospitals that will receive donations are Yala Hospital, Surat Thani Hospital, Ratchaburi Hospital, Chao Phraya Yommarat Hospital, Saraburi Hospital, Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital, Nan Hospital, Phramongkutklao Hospital, Chao Phya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital, Khon Kaen Hospital and Nakornping Hospital.  Source: Nation

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