Genzyme Korea, a Sanofi company, announced that a 6-minute Walkathon Campaign will be held in Gwanghwamun Square, a center in the city of Seoul, on Feb. 28. Seoul municipal city government is hosting the campaign, while Genzyme Korea and Good People International, an international development NGO, are joining forces to carry out the event. The aim of the event is to call attention to rare diseases and patients and to improve awareness, an important health and social issue among the general public. The event will also commemorate the 8th International Rare Disease Day on Feb. 28. The Korean Society of Medical Genetics will also be present as a supporting organization.
A "6-minute walk" is a clinical index for evaluating the walking ability of a patient with severe chronic diseases including rare diseases, and it is used to diagnose the degree of improvement from the disease. Citizens participating in this campaign will be walking on a stony road installed in Gwanghwamun Square. Those who participate will be able to empathize with patients that have rare diseases by walking barefoot along the road. This 6-minute-long walkathon symbolizes a journey taken together with patients towards hope and happiness. After the campaign, a special fund will be donated to patients under the names of the participating citizens.
Hope Welfare Support Section Chief Nam Gil-soon in Seoul municipal city government, who hosted this campaign, said, “I ask for active participation from citizens with a special interest and love for patients and families with rare diseases who are fighting a lonely battle and having a tough time so to make a Together and Warm Seoul.”
“In fact, 6 minutes are a short duration of time, and yet there are people that have to suffer taking these steps forward. We hope that this campaign will help urge the society to raise the issue and extend helping hands to those patients who suffer from societal indifference and a lack of medical treatment solutions while fighting against disease,” said Hee-kyung Park, General Manager of Genzyme Korea.
“I hope that many citizens join our 6-minute walkathon campaign, so that patients and families with rare diseases don’t lose hope for a full recovery,” said President of Good People International, a co-organizing institution, Kim Dong-myeong, asking for citizen participation.
Dr. Jin-Sung Lee, President of the Korean Society of Medical Genetics (KSMG) and Chief of clinical genetics in Yeonsei University Medical School, emphasized, “Considering that it takes over 10 years just to be diagnosed with a rare disease, we felt it is important to have citizens participate in this event to raise awareness, encourage early diagnosis, and help solve difficulties that patients and their families face with unmet medical needs. KSMG will do our utmost effort to improve patient outcome and develop better medical solutions with persistent research and scientific exchange.”