In the midst of a dark day for the country, Cape Town runner Mervin Steenkamp done South Africa proud after he won the Palestine Marathon in Bethlehem for the second time in two consecutive years. Steenkamp took first place in the 42.2 kilometres
Marathon, finishing in 2 hours 49 minutes.
The passionate runner, who represented the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) in Cape Town, aims to raise funds for the first and only cancer unit in Gaza in Palestine. The Palestine marathon is an annual road running event that takes place on the streets of Bethlehem. The race is symbolic as it highlights the right to movement of Palestinians.
The annual marathon in Bethlehem holds over 4000 participants, all of whom have joined the “Right to Movement” campaign which envisions the Palestinian people with a higher standard of living.
“The children at the Gaza border with terminal illnesses are being told that they cannot be treated due to a lack of antidotes, radiation and doctors. These kids end up dying at the borders,” said Cape Town co-ordinator for the PCRF, Abdeyah Fredericks.
“What the Dr Moosa and Suhayla Naseer Cancer unit will do is build a place of treatment within the Gaza Strip. We are telling the parents that their children are not forgotten and they will get the treatment they need. This is why Mervin is running, to build awareness of this issue and to show the Palestinians what PCRF is building for them.”
South Africans are incredibly proud as Steenkamp has yet again finished in first place at the marathon.
“For people like Mervin, to take their skills and utilize it to raise funds, for children who don’t have these facilities, is something that we as South Africans have to be very proud of.”
While the political situation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict continues, the people working to uplift those affected by the turmoil are seen as workers for good and prosperity for all. VOC