Australians supporting the UN Refugee Agency
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A personal best with a rewarding outcome
A chance encounter with Australia for UNHCR face-to-face workers in his local area in Sydney, put Kai Kasad on a path that led him not only to Chicago to compete in a marathon, but also to raise thousands of dollars for the UN Refugee Agency.
Kai became a regular donor after the conversation with the Australia for UNHCR workers, who were themselves refugees, and then he decided to do a Run for Refugees. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon wasn't his first big run of the year, but it was his “main event” and by saving up his fund raising for one big effort, he hoped to reach his ambitious target of $7000.
Kai has always been interested in human rights and helping those less fortunate, values that were instilled in him from a young age by his parents.
“By taking part in Run for Refugees, I wanted, if nothing else, an increased awareness of the plight of desperate people, displaced by war and strife,” he says.
Kai believes that most of us will never have a true sense of why refugees risk everything to flee to another land. “It is this message I would like to spread amongst my immediate network and beyond,” he explains.
In March 2013, Kai registered for the Chicago event and sought to raise funds by tapping into his personal network of friends, family and professional contacts. Social media was a big resource for Kai, like it is for so many of our donors now. He used his LinkedIn contacts and Facebook friends to promote his fundraising page on Everyday Hero. He then posted updates and photos about his personal journey to keep donors and potential donors engaged.
It was also a personally challenging time for Kai, as he was looking for a new employer, and relocating to Melbourne.
Luckily for Kai, and for us, he found an employer in legal firm Moores - an organisation which not only supported Kai in his endeavour but generally encourages community involvement and itself supports various charitable causes.
“They did everything to ensure the days leading up to my departure for Chicago were stress-free,” he says.
Kai had been training throughout this entire period and had even run the Brisbane marathon in August in preparation. It was his second marathon and good preparation for the October event, but it’s no mean feat to run two massive races within 10 weeks of each other.
The Brisbane event helped him pace himself for the big race, but Kai says it was the force of the crowd and the supporters along the way in Chicago that helped him to achieve his personal best time of 3 hours, 41 minutes and 53 seconds, well under his target of 3 hours and 50 minutes.
It’s no surprise that in the minutes after the race, Kai said he was overcome with emotion and shed tears of joy, pain and accomplishment.
But one of the most satisfying things for Kai, who is also planning on a Run for Refugees at the Paris marathon this year, is knowing that the funds raised – over $3,000 – will help some of the most vulnerable people in the world.
Follow Kai's journey through his fundraising page.
For more information and tips on how you can raise money for Australia for UNHCR, visit the community fundraising page.