David Grier becomes the first person in history to run the Great Wall of China in both directions
Extreme adventurer and philanthropist, David Grier, and his running companion, Andrew Stuart, arrived in Jiayuguan City this Tuesday, concluding their 4200 kilometer run of the Great Wall of China. The run, which they undertook in partnership with Fresenius Medical Care, the world’s largest provider of dialysis products and services, created a groundswell of social media engagement throughout China and Asia–Pacific, with thousands of people following the pairs' run and taking on the challenge to become more active themselves.
David Grier first ran the Great Wall of China 12 years' ago, with his journey starting in Jiayuguan City. In completing the run today — in the other direction — David has become the first person in history to run the Great Wall of China in both directions.
Mr Harry de Wit, CEO of Fresenius Medical Care Asia-Pacific, and 10 company employees ran the last kilometers of the Great Wall with David and Andrew. They converged with invited runners from the local healthcare industry to cross the finishing line together, bringing the historic run to a close.
Speaking at the official closing ceremony, Mr de Wit thanked David and Andrew, and all those who participated in the corporate social responsibility campaign: “I am proud to have run the final leg of the journey today”, he said. “I hope the strength and fortitude that these men have shown will inspire every individual and every person living with CKD to believe in themselves and conquer their own 'Great Wall' with a positive attitude. Today’s closing ceremony is not an end; it’s a brand-new beginning.”
David Grier echoed this sentiment, encouraging the wider community to use the WeChat Great Wall Program developed by Fresenius Medical Care China, where players accumulate daily steps as they virtually run the Great Wall: "Put on your shoes, and start counting your own steps. The steps don't end when we get to the end of the wall, this is where the steps start", he said.
Alan Chen, Executive Vice President, Fresenius Medical Care China, highlighted the ways in which the campaign has successfully put chronic kidney disease on the national health agenda. “I was very excited to see how the Back to the Wall campaign was able to span across China”, he said. “Awareness events in Yulin and Kunming received great support from local medical associations, hospitals and patients. Furthermore, we are opening dialysis centers in Fujian, Yunnan, and Sichuan to support facilities in public hospitals. This fits with the government’s strategy to allocate quality medical resources in both urban and rural areas, enabling more people living with chronic kidney disease to access essential services.”
Very importantly, the reach of the campaign has extended far beyond China, creating awareness of kidney health throughout the Asia-Pacific region. During the remainder of 2018, Fresenius Medical Care will engage employees, patients and healthcare professionals in fun runs, walks and educational events across the region, and amplifying their messages about kidney health through social media networks.
In a video interview just prior to completing the run, David pondered the Great Wall as a metaphor for the obstacles we all meet in our lives: “For every one of us, our lives are littered with walls that block the ultimate dream of how we see our lives unfolding. I feel the run of the Great Wall is symbolic to the walls faced by people living with CKD: No matter how treacherous the wall ahead, how deep the craters, and how crumbly the road, don’t ever give up on your journey. Put out your hand to the friend that is there with you, and travel the journey together. You will get to the end of that wall.”
ABOUT DAVID GRIER AND ANDREW STUART'S JOURNEY
David Grier and Andrew Stuart began their journey to run the entire route of the Great Wall of China at the end of March 2018. Beginning in Shanhaiguan, the pair ran an average of 61 kilometers a day and arrived at their final destination in Jiayuguan on 3 July. Twelve years' ago, David became one of the first people in history to run the entire route of the Great Wall of China, and he has now repeated history by becoming the first person in history to run the wall in both directions.
ABOUT FRESENIUS MEDICAL CARE
Fresenius Medical Care is the world's largest provider of products and services for individuals with renal diseases of which around 3.2 million patients worldwide regularly undergo dialysis treatment. Through its network of 3,790 dialysis clinics, Fresenius Medical Care provides dialysis treatments for 322,253 patients around the globe. Fresenius Medical Care is also the leading provider of dialysis products such as dialysis machines or dialyzers. Along with its core business, the company provides related medical services in the field of Care Coordination. Fresenius Medical Care is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (FME) and on the New York Stock Exchange (FMS).
This release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to various risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from those described in these forward-looking statements due to certain factors, including changes in business, economic and competitive conditions, regulatory reforms, foreign exchange rate fluctuations, uncertainties in litigation or investigative proceedings, and the availability of financing. These and other risks and uncertainties are detailed in Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co. KGaA's reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co. KGaA does not undertake any responsibility to update the forward-looking statements in this release.