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Running for humanity: bringing AIDS awareness to Cyprus.

Byline: Anna Hassapi

AN INTERNATIONAL campaign to raise awareness on AIDS through long distance running has reached Cyprus.

Two brothers, Jayanth Reddy and Sridhar Reddy are running across Cyprus spreading a dual message of AIDS awareness and the importance of physical fitness to promote longevity. The run, which started on September 15 in Larnaca, will finish on October 1 in Nicosia, after the brothers have passed through virtually every corner of the island.

"We aim to raise awareness about the AIDS global health crisis, particularly the stigmatisation surrounding HIV/AIDS," said Reddy.

"Forty two million people are infected with HIV/AIDS in the world, which makes it the most serious health-related catastrophe of modern times. Ninety per cent of the 2.3 million HIV-positive children living around the world contracted HIV from their mothers in the womb, 1,500 children contract HIV every day. This is simply unacceptable. As a global community, we must do more to help AIDS victims," Reddy added.

The Reddys arrived in Cyprus on September 14 and started their long distance run the following day from Larnaca airport. In one day they passed through eight villages including Meneou, Kiti, Softades, Mazotos, Zygi, Mari, Ayios Georgios and Amathus, and arrived in Limassol yesterday. They will be heading towards Paphos today, will then pass through numerous villages including Peyia and Polis, head to the mountains towards Kykkos and Platres, run across villages in the district of Nicosia, and finish their run in the capital on October 1.

While in Larnaca, the brothers visited the new Larnaca Hospital and spoke to an HIV-positive patient. "He was very hopeful that the cure will be found," said Reddy.

The Cyprus run is the fourth long distance 'Run for Humanity' for the two brothers. They already completed a tour of India and two long distance runs in the USA.

"After finishing the three runs, we decided we wanted to bring the campaign to Europe. Cyprus, because of its size, allows us to run through the island, coast to coast within the timeframe we wanted, as well as the mileage we wanted. We also chose Cyprus because people from different countries come here either as tourists or to live, so we could reach out to people from a variety of backgrounds," Reddy said.

Throughout their Cyprus run, the Reddys are accompanied by a Sports Physician Dr. Hidayathullah and a cameraman who captures every moment of their tour of the island. According to the Reddys, the Cypriot public has been particularly supportive of their campaign. "The response by people in Cyprus has been wonderful. Wherever we go they stop us, offer us drinks, they are very hospitable. We try and give them health tips."

One of the brothers, Jayanth Reddy, who is a martial arts expert in India, also claims to hold the secret to longevity, achieved through a series of exercises; Reddy is more than happy to share this knowledge with the world and his exercise regime is available on the campaign's website www.RunningForHumanity.Org.

"God cannot forgive us if we don't live at least 100 years, we should be able to live even more than that. Stop smoking, do the secret exercises I will tell you and you will be able to live for over 100 years -- at least 200 years," he said.

Running For Humanity will finish in Nicosia Eleftheria Square at midday.

Copyright Cyprus Mail 2008

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Geographic Code:4EXCY
Date:Sep 18, 2008
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