The AccorHotels Fiji Race to Survive to Cure Kids, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, was completed at Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa last week, with an emotional run to the finish line surrounded by hundreds of school children cheering racers on.

This year’s event raised an impressive $838,000 to continue the life-saving work of the Cure Kids charity in Fiji. Since its inaugural event held in 2006 (and every two years since), AccorHotels staff and supporters have raised in excess of $2.5 million Fijian dollars in total for the worthwhile Cure Kids Fiji cause.

In a joint statement from AccorHotels Senior Vice President Chris Sedgwick and Cure Kids CEO Frances Benge said: “We are incredibly proud of the partnership between AccorHotels and Cure Kids. These events coordinated by AccorHotels raise the much needed funds Cure Kids Fiji require to continue their work in Rheumatic Heart Disease screening here in Fiji”.

Sedgwick went on to say: “During the five day event, I have been humbled by the way the Fijian community supports our events, and amazed at the commitment of our hotel staff to not only work tirelessly for months prior to the event to fundraise, but also the effort they put in during the event. They overcame many personal challenges with one goal – to make a difference to the children of Fiji”.

The final day of the gruelling event saw competitors, who had commenced the five-day event at Novotel Nadi earlier last week, return to the mainland from South Sea Island. While most of the competitors were transferred by boat, a number raced back to Denarau on Jet Skis. The final leg of the race from Sigatoka included a stop at the Sigatoka Sand Dunes as they run through this important historical ecological site of Fiji.

Prior to arriving at Denarau Island the final stop was at the Momi Bay Zip Line where all 100 competitors and crew had the opportunity to experience another world class Fijian tourism activity which showcases the beauty of the Fijian Islands.

Event Director Murray Davison said :“We have been truly amazed at the generosity by so many Fiji companies who have donated both their products and services over the 5 day event. With this support we can ensure the money raised by our competitors prior to and during the event goes to Cure Kids so they can continue their amazing work here in Fiji”.

Cure Kids have used the funds over the past decade to purchase and maintain medical equipment for Lautoka, Nadi and Suva hospitals, and in more recent times has funded a world leading Rheumatic Heart Disease screening programme. Nurses are trained and lead by Suva based Dr Joseph Kado and screen children around the country in a partnership with Cure Kids and the Ministry of Health.

During Race To Survive 2016, children at Kesa and Soso Village School’s on Naviti Island were screened. Sadly a number were found to be suffering from Rheumatic Heart Syndrome (RHD), however the good news is they are now registered on a national treatment program.

Summing up the 2016 event, Sedgwick said: “As long as we are needed to raise money for this much needed cause, the people of Fiji can be assured AccorHotels will continue to be focussed on raising the funds, and we will continue to support Cure Kids Fiji to do the work they do.

“The motivating motto for all competitors over the past 10 years is simple and has remained the same – It’s for the kids!”

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management