Several members of the Rotary Club’s Taipei Yanping branch set off yesterday morning on a round-Taiwan bicycle tour to raise funds for the treatment of rare disorders.
King Liu (劉金標), chairman of Taiwan’s flagship bicycle maker Giant, was one of the many people on hand to see the 21 cyclists off at Dadaocheng Wharf (大稻埕碼頭) in Taipei City just after 7am.
Liu, whose son-in-law is a member of the group, joined the cyclists on the first stretch of their journey to give them encouragement.
The cyclists hope to complete their 1,010-km journey in 11 days and raise at least NT$5 million for the cause.
The Rotary Club has promised to donate NT$1 for every kilometer they ride.
The Taiwan Foundation for Rare Disorders and the Department of Health have listed 171 rare disorders in the country — 80 percent of which are either incurable or can only be treated with drugs that are costly and not readily available.
The cost of treating such diseases is extremely high and well beyond the means of patients whose disorders are not covered by the national health insurance system, the foundation said.
The foundation expressed its appreciation to the Rotary Club for its show of concern for people with rare disorders and expressed the hope that it could serve as an example for all sectors of society.
The Rotary Club cyclists plan to arrive in Kaohsiung City on Oct. 21, where they will visit a patient with a rare genetic skin disorder called epidermolysis bullosa.
The cyclists will solicit donations at stops along their journey, which is scheduled to conclude back at Dadaocheng Wharf on Oct. 28.
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