Sunday, June 17, 2007

Petpositive Charity Dinner

M E T R O Central
Saturday June 16, 2007

Help disabled attend event, public urged


THE little aquarium that sits before Wong Lee Foong is not by any means fanciful, but to her, the fragile fish that swim gracefully are a source of joy and entertainment.

For, the 21-year-old cannot appreciate the bountiful blessings in life an able-bodied person enjoys as she cannot walk, talk or move about freely on her own.

Wong is profoundly disabled and is dependent on others to live her life.

Animals to the rescue: 'Petpositive affords a beautiful way of helping the disabled and elderly cope with their disabilities as we provide animal-assisted therapy (AAT),' says Thanasayan.
Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association (Petpositive) president Anthony Thanasayan said after members of the association brought the aquarium and placed it in her home, Wong became a lot more responsive and expressive as she continued to observe the fish.

“Petpositive affords a beautiful way of helping the disabled and elderly cope with their disabilities as we provide animal-assisted therapy (AAT) in allowing these individuals to live life,” Thanasayan said in an interview at which treasurer Dr C. Vijayakumar was also present.

He said animals had no prejudice, accepting the disabled and elderly unconditionally for who they were.

“Animals help cushion the blow of disability as they help take one's mind off depression and take the disabled or elderly person to a relief zone.

“This is because the animal doesn't recognise whether one is paralysed or not; to the animal, only its master is important.

“There is no cure for someone who is permanently paralysed but having an animal, whether it is a dog, cat, turtle, fish, snake or rabbit, helps raise a disabled person's self-esteem, helping them deal with loneliness and depression,” Thanasayan said.

Petpositive is a non-profit body registered on June 7, 2006 and on July 29; it will celebrate its first anniversary and official launch.

“The aim of our society is to partner pets with disabled and older Malaysians for positive living.

“Petpositive is run by people who are recipients of AAT.

Professionals backing the organisation: Petpositive treasurer Dr Vijayakumar.
“We also receive strong backing from specialists in the medical, rehabilitation, veterinary, dental and other healthcare professions – many of whom are in our executive committee,” Thanasayan said.

He said Petpositive focused its attention on the well-being of the welfare of the disabled or elderly person in totality – ensuring their needs were cared for.

A charity fund-raising dinner would be held on July 29 at The Legend Hotel Kuala Lumpur, he said, adding that there would be 75 tables for sale.

Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Donald Lim is expected to launch the event, which will feature a line-up of performances that include a specially choreographed show by dance guru Ramli Ibrahim and performances by Leonard Tan and Brenda Lee.

Thanasayan wants this dinner to be extra-special as he invites members of the public either to donate tickets for the disabled/ elderly to attend or to buy a ticket and accompany a disabled person to the dinner.

“There are a lot of disabled people who do not get the chance to come out and participate in social gatherings or attend dinners because they are dependent on others to take them out.

“I invite the public to donate one or two seats for the disabled as this is a chance to do a good deed for charity.

“Well-wishers who are attending the dinner can take up the challenge to invite a disabled person and be their guardian at the dinner.

“We can pair them with a disabled person through our contacts.

“It is a night for the disabled and their caregivers; support us,” Thanasayan said, adding that donors from as far as Sarawak, Penang and even Australia had called in to sponsor tickets for the disabled.

Tables are priced at RM3,000 – RM300 per seat – and sponsors for the souvenir programme are also welcome.

For details, call 012-220 3146 (Anthony) or 03-6157 5271 (Anna Tandy).

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