Toon donations top B400m on eve of Bangkok arrival

Toon Bodyslam receives a dragon water jar, a symbol of Ratchaburi, painted with his image as a souvenir during a stop in the province on Saturday. (Photo by Saichon Srinuanjan)

Donations topped 400 million baht on Saturday as rock star Toon Bodyslam cruised through Ratchaburi on a hospital fund-raising marathon that will bring him into Bangkok on Sunday.

Toon and his team left Phetchaburi province at 2.30am and arrived in Pak Tho district of Ratchaburi at 5.30am, where many people were already waiting by the roadside to greet him and hand him cash. “Pi Toon Fight On!” they shouted as the marathon man passed by. 

Toon, also known as Artiwara Kongmalai, received cash donations from Pak Tho district chief Pratheep Natheethaweewat, on behalf of local residents, in front of the local Bangkok Bank branch.

He then continued his journey along Phetkasem Road toward downtown Muang district, where people of all ages waited patiently and eagerly for more than five hours under the hot sun to greet the singer. 

When Toon arrived at the welcoming stage around noon, Ratchaburi governor Chayawut Chanthorn presented him with a 12-million-baht cheque, representing donations from local residents to his charity run for the 11 public hospitals, including Ratchaburi Hospital.

Deputy governor Wisa Poon Sirirat presented the rocker a small dragon water jar, a symbol of the province, painted with his image. The jar was also filled with cash donated by residents who had arrived to greet him.

Toon told the adoring crowd he was no hero. The true heroes, he said to cheers from the audience, were the people wearing hospital uniforms.

He thanked all the people who were supporting his campaign, took a brief 45-minute rest in the reception room at Ratchaburi Hospital and then paid his respects at the City Pillar shrine. Then he resumed running, through Photharam, Bang Phae and Ban Pong districts before heading onward to Nakhon Pathom province.

Toon is scheduled to reach a PT fuel service station on Boromratchonnanee Road in Thawi Watthana district of at around 3pm Sunday. He will rest on Monday before resuming his run on Tuesday along Ratchadamnoen Avenue to Siriraj Hospital.

As of 5pm Saturday, Toon had logged 1,210 kilometres since he set off on Nov 1 from Betong district in Yala, the country’s southernmost point, on a quest for donations to help state hospitals in need of more and better equipment for patients.

All told, he intends to cover 2,191km in 55 days. He plans to reach Mae Sai district in Chiang Rai on Dec 25, with at least 700 million baht in hand. So far, according to the (everyone takes a step) website, contributions have surpassed 405 million baht.

In December 2016, Toon ran 400km from Bangkok to Bang Saphan hospital, raising a total of 85 million baht for the hospital to buy medical equipment.

Ratchaburi governor Chayawut Chanthorn presents rocker Artiwara “Toon” Kongmalai with a cheque for 12 million baht, representing donations from local residents to his charity run for 11 public hospitals, including Ratchaburi Hospital. (Photo by Saichon Srinuanjan)

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