'I had run many races and played many games at Kateerava during my younger days, never dreaming I’d be back forty odd years later, in a run of a ‘different’ kind and for a cause! I was here not only to raise funds but also to make a statement that disability need not stop one from ‘running’ to achieve your purpose in life. Incidentally, in January 2011, I participated too, along with The APD team in the Mumbai Marathon!’
Disappointment doesn’t overwhelm Jacqueline Colaco. “Nor do I drop people as friends if they do not donate for the cause I'm crusading for,” says the lady who for the sixth time in as many years, participated as a ‘champion for disability.’
Gearing up for the run Jacqueline wrote: ‘The excitement about the forthcoming TCS Bangalore 10K Run on 19th May is building up, and I don’t want to be left out, even though I can only limp around now on my arthritic legs. So here am I at 63, enrolled as a ‘Care Champion’ and a senior in the wheel chair event, for the sixth year in a row.’
Taking us back to her initial tryst with wheels, Jacqueline says: “I had my first experience in 2008, when I had to be ready at the start for our race at 7 am. We were about two dozen lined up in our wheel chairs under the banner of The Association of People With Disability (APD), among others, for the 4 km race starting from Kanteerava Stadium. We were ‘wheeling’ for APD’s cause – one of the beneficiary organisations of the ‘I Care’ charity event. Some of us were self-propelled, while others like me had a pusher.”
As a person who took the hockey field by storm in her youth, Jacqueline forms a relationship with the outdoors, even as she finds novel ways to take life within her stride. ‘I had run many races and played many games at Kateerava during my younger days, never dreaming I’d be back forty odd years later, in a run of a ‘different’ kind and for a cause! I was here not only to raise funds but also to make a statement that disability need not stop one from ‘running’ to achieve your purpose in life. Incidentally, in January 2011, I participated too, along with The APD team in the Mumbai Marathon!’
In 2012, Jacqueline was presented the award for highest fund-raiser among women care champions, with a collection of Rs 10.01 lakhs for APD. “This year, I’ve netted Rs 7.5 lakhs from all individual support and just one corporate organisation,” she beams.
Making appeals and constantly requesting people to contribute is hard work. “The success rate is limited, but I persevere. This year, I started in March with phone calls, emails and Facebook appeals. I’m amazed at the success I’ve had,” she says.
All this, with the precious paraphernalia that Jacqueline has by her bedside... phones, seizure medicine and water, Vicks, eye drops, a book to read, mags and newspapers, cash and a few important papers and phone books with numbers. Between the smiles and pain, Jacqueline’s life is punctuated with emotions and thoughts, which help her realise there is still much she can do to reach out to others. “Even as an armchair minister, by lending a listening ear, I know that as I get older, each moment of life left must be fulfilling,” she says.
So, a typical day in Jacqueline’s life begins with a prayer and a walk in her garden, as she checks on her 100 plants, followed by a few hours online. “Thereafter, I do some work for APD, watch the stock market, chat with friends and read the papers. For my personal needs like bathing and dressing, I’m dependent on a care giver,” she says.
Each day, Jacqueline makes much ado about making this world a better place for other sufferers. People are overwhelmed by Jacqueline’s determination to see a more disabled-friendly Bangalore in the not too distant future.