Khun mae is still going strong. 

Fomer Miss Thailand World 1992, model, actress and The Face Thailand mentor, Metinee "Lukkade" Kingpayome, 45, recently spent seven days walking the 194-kilometer distance from Hua Hin to Bangkok as part of her Walk for Life campaign to raise much-needed funds for Siriraj Hospital. Lukkade tells us about training for the ordeal, her experiences along the way, and how we can all pitch in to be more helpful in society. 

Can you tell me about Walk for Life?

Siriraj Hospital takes care of so many people, whether they are rich or poor—in fact, a lot of poor people go to this hospital. They had to try to meet the increasingly high demand so they recently finished construction of a new building which will double the hospital's current patient capacity. The hospital needs a total of B2 billion for new equipment, for example a laser machine that's used on patients with cancer so they don't have to go through any surgeries. There is only one of these machines in Thailand right now, at Chula Hospital, and Siriraj wants to get two of them—and plenty of others. They have the best doctors here so they have a lot of patients and sometimes people have to wait for a day to get into an intensive care unit room. Sometimes people have to wait on a bed in a hallway. What would happen if it was an emergency case?

How did you get involved in this project?

I wanted to do charity work for somewhere, and because my grandmother goes to Siriraj Hospital, I’ve seen what it’s really like there and it's a problem close to my heart. I can see that they really need our help. Then I spoke to Piya “Kong” Sawetpikul [another Thai celebrity] and we worked together with the hospital. We spent two months working on this before we set off on the walk. 

Will you do any more walks in the future? 

Maybe. I wouldn’t say no, but it depends on the timing and other things. One of the reasons that I decided to do it was because I wanted to be a role model for my son, as well as for other kids. You have to do something good for society, not just live your life and spend all your time on the phone. I also want to teach them that no matter what you do, you always have to prepare and plan ahead. I already exercised regularly but to walk 194 kilometers, I had to train. I didn’t just decide to walk one day and then did it. We had to split it up and do 30-36km per day.

Did anything memorable happen during the walk?

So much. The kindness from the Thai people. Some people didn’t have the money to donate to us but they would bring us water. Some people waited for us in the rain just so they could give us money. The farmers, the fishermen, who didn’t have a lot of money but never seemed to give a second thought about giving us money at all, they pulled out B20 or even B50 notes and happily gave them to us. Strangely, we encountered quite a few cars who were actually already on their way to Siriraj Hospital as well, whether it was to visit someone or to get treatment for themselves or a family member. Also, when I was walking on the road, the amount of pollution was ridiculous. On day five I couldn’t breathe! There should be a regulation for this, in fact, I know there is a regulation for this. So why isn’t anybody enforcing it? I’d always commuted via cars, so I never realized how much it really poisons us.

How much money did you raise in total?

On Oct 9 the total was around B7.8 million. We'll close the Walk for Life donation site on Oct 30. But if you want to donate money after then, you can always do it directly at the hospital.

What would be the ideal solution to this problem, so celebrities like you or Toon Bodyslam wouldn’t need to fundraise for hospitals in the future?

I think the first step is to look after yourself so that you are well enough to help other people. I mean, at the end of the day, people are always going to get sick and we are going to die, but you can try and look after yourself properly to help prevent it as much as possible. There are so many problems in life, in general, that you can never find the perfect solution to. It always involves more money, more doctors, or a whole bunch of things. People need to start helping, instead of being so materialistic. They need to start doing more for society and then, maybe, this would be a better place to live.