On the 20th of January 2008, 2 giant capsules called Mr. Capsule and Miss Capsule, “hamsters”, mimes, “blind mice” and worms invaded the Summit Subang USJ and Subang Parade, much to the delight of those present as evident from their laughter and cheers. Why were they there? Ladies and gentlemen, let’s hear it for the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society-Young Pharmacists Chapter HEALTH-A-THON: Lifestyle on the Go.
During the Young Pharmacists Chapter’s first meeting in September 2007, the idea for an inter-professional gathering was mooted to serve as an introduction for the Young Pharmacists Chapter. As a result, HEALTH-A-THON was conceived and thus began months of preparations from October onwards. There were numerous meetings in the evening after work at the MPS meeting room and far more e-mails zigzagging between members of the organizing committee. Soon after, the third year pharmacy students of UiTM were welcomed on board and they proved to be an invaluable help.
After months of preparation and publicity, a total of 92 participants comprising 44 pharmacists, 20 students, 16 engineers, five representatives from MAICSA, four lecturers, a lawyer, a teacher and a chemist answered the call and challenge to an amazing race. Divided into 24 teams, they raced through HEALTH-A-THON, fighting against time and conquering 12 stations in 2 shopping malls no less.
The team who completed all the tasks at each station along the race in the shortest possible time and answered correctly the most Bonus Time questions won. The champions won 3-month memberships for Celebrity Fitness worth RM800 each. The second team received a Bio-Life hamper while the other three winners won hampers contributed by Kotra. No one walked away empty-handed that day as every participant received a goody bag, which included a 14-day pass to Celebrity Fitness.
The HEALTH-A-THON event started at 10am with an opening speech by the chairman of the organizing committee, Ong Aik Liang. He spoke about the establishment of the Young Pharmacists Chapter in September 2007 and HEALTH-A-THON being its maiden project. He also thanked his committee for their teamwork, the kind sponsors for making this event possible and the third year UiTM pharmacy students for their involvement and tremendous help. The race then began at 10.30am with the participants having to complete a puzzle that would have thrilled Da Vinci Code and National Treasure buffs.
After that, what did the participants face and have to overcome in their quest to emerge victorious? Among others: Reaching into a container filled with cute, shiny worms to draw out empty shells of capsules to produce 20 capsules filled with lactose. Donning mascots’ costumes to become either Mr. Capsule or Miss Capsule and distributing 10 pamphlets to the public. Playing Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey game but instead of a donkey, a blank cardboard was put up and cards containing various label details substituted the tail. Braving through a bone density test and having to eat wasabi-filled bread as punishment if found to have less than ideal results. Miming tips on how to overcome smoking addiction. At Celebrity Fitness in Subang Parade, there was a fine display of human “hamsters” on treadmills as the participants took part in the “Hamster Wheel” game.
There was a deluge of information for both the participants and the public as the stations carried various health themes of interest such as rational use of drugs, hand hygiene, stress management, exercise, heart, bones, smoking cessation, consumerism and enforcement. The majority of stations were managed by the third year pharmacy students of UiTM while Bio-Life Marketing Sdn. Bhd., Y.S.P. SAH, NaturCare Organic Lacto-Fibre, FOMCA and Tupperware manned the rest. Lots of pamphlets, bookmarks and freebies were given away. At the Smoking Cessation station, there was an attention-grabbing giant cigarette intended to lure the public to a quiz to identify their addiction level.
The race came to an end at 3pm. Announcement of results and presentation of goody bags and prizes to the top five teams were at 4pm. The Vice President of the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society, Professor Dr. P.T. Thomas, graced the event with a closing speech, in which he praised the organizing committee, the students and the participants for their commendable effort and he expressed his hope that there will be more of such activities to come, before giving away the goody bags and prizes.
HEALTH-A-THON: Lifestyle on the Go was closed with the Olympic Creed and it reads, The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.
Article by Ms. Phuar Hsiao Ling
Photographs by Mr. Jack Shen Lim
CLICK ON ANY OF THE IMAGES BELOW TO BRING UP THE PICTURE GALLERY FOR THIS EVENT!