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      February 28, 2024

      Journey for Hope: A Father-Son Runathon for Breast Cancer Awareness

      As a proud member of the Continental family and a dedicated father, I had the privilege of joining my son, Jansen, on a life-changing journey. Together, we embarked on a 14-day, 500km charity runathon from Kyoto to Tokyo, along the original Tokaido trail. This wasn't just a test of endurance; it was a mission for a cause close to our hearts – breast cancer awareness and education.

      The Inspiration and a breathtaking Journey

      Jansen, a 17-year-old with a heart as vast as the journey ahead, was driven by a simple yet powerful desire to make a difference. Witnessing the impact of breast cancer on lives around us, he decided to step up in the most remarkable way. As his father, supporting him was not just a choice but an honor.

      Our journey along the historic Tokaido Trail was both challenging and breathtaking. From the scenic Pacific coast around Shizuoka to the majestic landscapes of Mount Fuji, from the serene forest in Hakone to the bustling streets of Tokyo, each step along the historic Tokaido trail was a blend of awe and effort that tested our limits. The journey was physically demanding, but the cause fueled our determination.

      Our journey began on a sunny Saturday morning at the historic Kyoto Imperial Palace, a place that embodies tradition and serenity. The calm before the storm of the long journey ahead.

      The Toll of Perseverance

      As the days progressed, so did the physical demands.

      Here are some images of Jansen, resting in the car, swollen ankles wrapped in ice, which speak volumes of the endurance required. These moments of respite were as crucial as the run itself, allowing us to gather strength for the road ahead. It was in these quiet times of recovery that the silent language of support and care spoke the loudest, a testament to the resilience not just of the human body, but of the undeterred spirit in the face of exhaustion.

      A note worth taking on the second day where our journey took an unforeseen turn. Our faithful car, a silent companion on this mission, found itself in a ditch. It was a moment that tested our resolve beyond the physical strain of the run. Yet, it was the kindness of a local farmer that reminded us of the journey's true essence—compassion and support in the face of adversity. As he helped us free the car, we were reminded that every challenge on this path was an opportunity to witness the generosity of the human spirit.

      Rain or Shine, From Dusk till Down - The Unwavering Spirit

      Even though the weather was generally good, we ran into several storms during the first few days of our journey. With a tight schedule, we continued to run late into the night, amidst the storm. As the sun dipped below, the endurance through our twilight run transcended the fatigue of a long day's journey. Even as darkness embraced the sky, Jansen's spirit remained as luminous as the painted murals of old Japan that graced our path under moonlit bridges.

      A Father's Support

      As we ran side by side under the foot of majestic Mount Fuji, our strides were in harmony, much like our resolve to make a difference in the battle against breast cancer. The iconic peak stood as a symbol of our journey's scale, and its grandeur was a reminder of the mountainous challenges faced by those battling cancer. Together, father and son, we ran with a unity of purpose, our journey framed by the golden hues of the fields and the enduring strength of Mt. Fuji.

      Our path also took us through the heart of nature's quiet and down its darker corridors. Running through dense forests where light and shadow danced between the leaves, we faced the unknown with a steady pace and brave hearts. The tunnels, eerie in their silent promise of the other side, stood before us, their darkness no match for the light of our cause. Each run-through was a triumph, a metaphor for the hope we carried for every individual fighting breast cancer.

      Embracing Nature's Splendor and Milestones

      The Old Tokaido route unfolded its beauty along the shores, where the blue expanse of the Pacific Ocean accompanied us. Near Hamamatsu, the serenity of the waves contrasted with the constant rhythm of our running shoes, a harmonious blend of human perseverance and nature's timeless grace.

      In the quiet of the forest near Shizuoka, Jansen’s footsteps were a steady beat against the cobblestone, a testament to the cause that drove us forward.

      Each kilometer was marked not just by distance but by the generosity of those who supported us. The signs along the way, were more than directions; they were symbols of progress in our collective fight against breast cancer.

      The End & A New Beginning

      As we passed by the Continental building near Yokohama and approached the final destination Tokyo, the evening was alive with the hum of the city. Jansen's smile in the glow of streetlights and neon signs was a beacon of hope.

      Our run concluded under the wide skies of Nihonbashi (Bridge of Japan, the origin of Japan’s geological landmark), it was the culmination of our 14 day unswerving journey and an exhilarating moment.

      Supported by the power of community and Continental

      The support we received was overwhelming. From local communities to global organizations like the Singapore Cancer Society and National Cancer Center Singapore, everyone's encouragement bolstered our spirits. It was a testament to the power of community in fighting a common enemy.

      We received over 200 individual donations and together with the government matching program, we completed the charity run with more than 44K SGD raised for Breast Cancer Research and Education!

      Furthermore, 100 people joined our social media broadcast to cheer us on throughout our 2 week journey.

      I am grateful to Continental for not just encouraging corporate social responsibility but living it. Continental’s support, be it through flexible work arrangements or moral encouragement, as well as the promotion of our charity event through corporate channels was invaluable. It underscored the ethos of our company – a commitment to not just business, but our core values.

      Impact and Outcome

      Our run was more than just kilometers covered; it was funds raised and awareness spread. Thanks to generous contributions, we raised over 22K SGD, doubled to 44K SGD with government match fund. This will go 100% to support Duke-NUS Oncology Academic Clinical Programme (ONCO ACP) to advance breast cancer research and education, bringing us a step closer to a cure.

      This journey with Jansen was more than just a physical challenge; it was a journey of hope. It demonstrated the impact one individual can make and the power of coming together for a cause. As I reflect on this experience, my heart is full of pride for my son and gratitude for everyone who supported us.

      At Continental, we don't just engineer excellence in our products—we foster it in our people and the communities we serve.

      We invite you to join us in this ongoing journey of hope. Together, we can pave the way for a future free from breast cancer!

      Ming Jing

      Vice President, Head of Architecture & Networking Business Area Segment 2 & China