It was a hard fought battle, one that Ramanan Durairaj will be remembered for a long time.
An ardent social league footballer and football fan, Ramanan was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2004 and managed to beat it. However, in 2016 the cancer returned and he passed away last year. He was 44.
To honour his grit and determination, Ramanan’s friends decided to do something fun in memory of him – through football.
Ramanan’s friends organised a charity seven-a-side event – Bigger Than King Kong – some six weeks after his death and the outcome was overwhelming. Participated by six teams, the event created awareness about cancer as the organisers raised funds for cancer research.
The second edition of Bigger Than King Kong, featuring 10 teams, will be held on Saturday from 8am at Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Resort in Kuala Lumpur.
Other activities include children’s three-a-side football, penalty shootout and several carnival-like activities. There will be food trucks and a special appearance by neighbourhood bar Locker & Loft.
“Ramanan was fond of work carried out by the National Cancer Council Malaysia (Makna). As such, we managed to raise RM32,000 at the inaugural event and handed it over to the council,” said long-time friend Pramugh Pathmanaban, 44.
“This time around, we want to double that figure as we hope to raise even more than we did last year and hand it over to the National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM).”
Pramugh said NCSM creates awareness about cancer and educates the masses about leading a better lifestyle.
“NCSM also carries out tests and provides a place to stay for patients from the B40 group, particularly children and their caretakers. We hope this contribution will support the various programmes and initiatives carried out by NCSM. There will be banners, pamphlets and representatives from NCSM at our event.
“Ramanan valued sportsmanship, teamwork, loyalty and family. This initiative also celebrates the beauty of life, in memory of a man who loved, experienced and lived it to the fullest.”
So why is the event called Bigger Than King Kong?
“We used to tease him Ramanama Ding Dong and his reply would always be ‘bigger than King Kong’. It’s our way of remembering him and it’s catchy. Even the participating teams find the name of the event to be cool,” said Pramugh.
Main image: Group photo of Bigger Than King Kong 2018 champion FC Rojak.