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Wednesday, May 17, 2000

HOOFING FOR CHARITY

Nagoya community to hold walk-a-thon


Staff writer

Each year for the past nine years, Nagoya's foreign community has gathered in the city's Meijo Park district for an annual charity walk-a-thon. Thousands of people, from members of the local expatriate business community to players from the Chunichi Dragons to ordinary citizens, participate in a day of fun and exercise for a good cause.

"The walk-a-thon has really became the major event of the year for the Nagoya foreign community and many Japanese," says longtime Nagoya resident Carter Witt, who is helping to organize the event.

This year's event takes place May 21. Sponsored by the American Business Community Nagoya and the Nagoya International School, the 5-km walk-a-thon attracted about 1,500 people last year and Witt said that, with favorable weather, more than 2,000 are expected this year.

The walk-a-thon committee expects that about 2 million yen will be raised, a slightly higher figure than last year and the proceeds will be used for a number of local charities.

In past years, money raised by the walk-a-thon has been used to buy heaters for a local orphanage, to outfit apartments used as temporary housing for families of children undergoing cancer treatment, and to help provide care and training to people with disabilities.

Ticket prices vary, and include rates for corporations and individual walkers. Individual tickets are 2,500 yen for adults and 1,500 yen for kids. With the ticket, participants get an official 2000 Walk-a-thon T-shirt, a small picnic lunch, and an entry into the raffle, first prize of which is round-trip air fare to the United States.

This year, the money raised will go toward the Make A Wish Foundation, the Washinkan Children's Home, several charities that assist the homeless and those with disabilities, and two organizations that provide AIDS counseling.

In addition to the walk, the event will have live entertainment. Three bands, including one from Nagoya International School, will perform and barbecue food -- including free hot dogs, Japanese-style box lunches and a variety of curries will be available.

U.S. companies present in the Nagoya region -- including Boeing, Raytheon, Pratt & Whitney, Harman-International, Lockheed Martin, and Delta and Northwest airlines -- are some of the main sponsors of the event.

Major Japanese firms in the region, including Toyota Motor Corp., are also offering their support.

The walk-a-thon will take place, rain or shine, May 21, and begins near the fountain entrance to Meijo Park, directly across the street from the Meijo Koen subway exit.

For more information, call the American Business Community Nagoya, in English or Japanese, at (052) 973-0018, or e-mail abcnwalk@abcnjapan.com


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The Japan Times

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