Tono raises 40 million baht in charity swim across Mekong

PHOTO: Actor-Singer Tono raises 40 million baht in a charity swim across the Mekong. (via MGR Online / Google)

How much money would it take for you to swim across the Mekong? For actor-singer superstar Pakin “Tono” Kumwilaisak it was 40 million baht – the amount he raised for a charity swim yesterday. The generous celebrity took to the waters in Nakhon Phanom to swim across the mighty Mekong and land in Laos after a journey of over 1 kilometre.

Tono started yesterday morning with a religious ceremony before attempting the fundraising stunt. Many people criticised him and worried that, though his intentions were noble, the dangerous stunt could risk the safety or even the life of the 26 year old superstar.

But he had set a goal of raising 16 million baht to help the Nakhon Phanom Hospital in Thailand and Khammoune Hospital in Laos which are financially struggling. The fundraising efforts smashed through that goal and raised over 40 million baht for the two very grateful hospitals.

He entered the water along the Thai banks of the Mekong at 10.09am, following the currents of the wide river. The first checkpoint was a fair way into the total journey, at the Wat Klang Pier on the Thai side of the river. Tono took a 15-minute break after swimming about 800 metres – about 16 laps in an Olympic-sized swimming pool. He said hello to the spectators and fans that had come out to support him and caught his breath before undertaking the next leg of his journey.

Back into the water, Tono swam another 200 metres to the next checkpoint at Sala Saeng Singkaew Pier, still on the Thai side of the river. With no problems and Tono in good spirits, he then made his final push to swim across the Mekong to the Laos side of the border river.

He arrived at 12.10 pm, a solid two hours after he first stepped into the waters. He climbed out of the Mekong ending his swim at Wat Phra That Si Kottaboon to fanfare from Laotian fans and supporters of his charitable stunt.

Medical personnel onsite from the Khammoune Hospital, his fundraiser, were there in support to make sure he was healthy and safe. He then took a rest at a local hotel for a while before heading back to Thailand later that day. A few hours of strenuous exercise for a philanthropic celebrity managed to raise over 40 million baht for two hospitals in need.

Northern Thailand News

Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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