One of Sands China’s top executives has swum a 15-kilometre open water marathon in Hong Kong to raise money for the Abandoned Animals Protection Association of Macau (AAPAM), with Sands China matching his donation to the local non-profit.
Mark McWhinnie, Sands China’s senior vice president of resort operations and development, competed in the annual Clean Half Extreme Marathon on 6 October, raising a total of MOP$90,000 from individual cash donations. Sands China matched that donation through its charitable giving programme, Sands Cares, for a total of MOP$180,000 donated to AAPAM as a result of McWhinnie’s individual initiative.
To train for the race, McWhinnie swam a total of 285 kilometres over the course of more than four months. At 15 kilometres, the Clean Half Extreme Marathon is Asia’s longest for an organised event, which McWhinnie completed in just over five hours – taking approximately 15,400 swim strokes and burning over 4,300 calories in the process. Along the way, a support boat helped him stay hydrated and keep his energy up with eight bottles of water, four bananas and two energy gels.
Starting at Hong Kong’s Stanley Beach and finishing at Deep Water Bay, the race is popular as a team relay event, but also allows solo entrants. McWhinnie was one of 11 competitors who took on the more gruelling task of swimming solo in this year’s event.
“It took many, many long hours of training to prepare for this marathon, and it has been well worth it,” McWhinnie said. “I’m so pleased to have swum in this event to raise money for AAPAM, an organisation whose work I care deeply about, and I’m very happy that Sands China has matched the money raised with its own donation.”
Sands China and McWhinnie presented their donations to AAPAM at a cheque presentation ceremony on 22 November at the Venetian Macao.
Choi Wing Chi, chairman of the Abandoned Animals Protection Association of Macau, said, “Mark is one of our dedicated supporters and we are thrilled that he dedicated his swim to raising funds for our operation. A donation like this helps us continue doing the important work of taking care of Macau’s abandoned pets, keeping strays off the streets, and finding them loving homes. We are grateful for Mark’s kind-heartedness and for his and Sands China’s generous donations.”
The Abandoned Animals Protection Association of Macau (AAPAM) is a non-profit social service organisation dedicated to promoting animal protection, and seeks to raise public awareness of responsible pet ownership. The association provides both temporary and lifelong shelter for abandoned and abused animals, while at the same time helping arrange new homes for them. Since October 2004, the association has taken in more than 1,300 animals and has successfully arranged 300 adoptions to date.