BANGKOK – After traveling nearly 400 kilometres on wheelchair, a 52-year-old ALS patient arrived at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok to honour His Majesty the King today.
Sathit Chantarangsi began his journey from his hometown in Pitsanulok province on 15 November with the goal of paying respect in front of a portrait of King Bhumipol at Siriraj Hospital, where the 86-year-old monarch is being treated for several illnesses.
Police officers and volunteer medics escorted Sathit on the roads as he made his way to the capital city on wheelchair. He reached Siriraj Hospital at around 9 am this morning. There, Sathit laid flower in front of the king's portrait and signed get-well messages on the guestbook provided by hospital staff.
According to Sathit, he started to suffer from ALS seven years ago and petitioned His Majesty the King for medical assistance. Sathit said his petition was accepted by the Royal Household Bureau, which placed him under care of two public hospitals in Bangkok. The palace also provided him with a free wheelchair, he added.
"I made it my goal that I will devote the rest of my life into repaying His Majesty's kindness in any way I can," Sathit told reporters before he left his hometown in early November.
He continued, "I have long intended to ride my wheelchair to wish His Majesty the King a speedy recovery from his illness, because I want to show that my disability isn't an obstacle, and because I have a strong will. I believe I would be successful."
A number of residents in the provinces that Sathit passed along also donated money to him for accommodation and food.
On 13 November, the palace said His Majesty was also suffering from an intestinal infection, but that his overall health was improving.
The king's frail health is a cause of anxiety for many Thais because the monarch is widely credited for bringing stability to Thailand for more than 60 years on the throne.
For comments, or corrections to this article please contact: [email protected]