Mon, May 23, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Volunteer cycles across Taiwan for second time

Staff Writer, with CNA

Sixty year-old Lu Yung-chuan shows some of the stamps he collected on a 25-day bicycle trip around Taiwan after returning to Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

A 60-year-old man completed his second round-the-nation cycle tour yesterday as part of efforts to promote the work of a local foundation that helps the elderly.

Taipei resident Lu Yung-chuan (呂永權) followed the railway network on his 25-day cycling trip. He visited seniors and talked to people about the services provided by the Huashan Social Welfare Foundation for the elderly.

Lu, who has been a volunteer in a senior care call program for over a decade, traveled to 222 train stations nationwide, starting from Taipei.

“The ‘growing old locally’ concept promoted by the foundation needs more volunteers,” he said. “I am happy to be a traveling goodwill ambassador to encourage more people to join the cause.”

The idea is to help the elderly live their lives in the place that is most familiar to them, the foundation said.

Lu, an aircraft maintenance technician, said he spent an average of five to six hours a day cycling, but he spent more time talking to people about caring for their senior neighbors.

He also visited an elderly person in Fengyuan (豐原), Greater Taichung, who he had been in contact with by telephone for more than 10 years, he said.

During the tour, he knelt down in front of the statue of the goddess Matsu at the Beigang Chaotian Temple in Yulin County to pray for health and happiness for all elderly people, he said.

“It seemed as if Matsu was nodding at me,” he said. “That was the most special experience during the trip.”

Lu, who made a similar tour 10 years ago for a different foundation, said the trip this year was the best birthday present he could ever give himself.

The Huashan Foundation helps seniors who are disabled, suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, or live alone.

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