Dr William Tan (Singapore)

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Paralympian & Campaigner

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William is a surgeon, academic and Paralympic medallist. He holds six world marathon records and has raised over $18m for charity. Paralysed from the waist down after contracting polio as a baby, he’s also skydived, water-skied and climbed a 14-storey building to raise money. Diagnosed with leukaemia in 2009, he immediately started campaigning for lower treatment prices for the poorest sufferers – completing three marathons back-to-back after his bone marrow transplant.


Dr William Tan is a doctor, academic and Paralympic medallist. He holds six world marathon records, and has raised more than $18 million for worldwide charities.

William contracted polio at two, becoming paralysed from the waist down. After growing up in modest circumstances in Singapore, he studied medicine at Oxford and Harvard. He is now a practising surgeon and neuroscientist, when not undertaking incredible challenges.

After a difficult childhood of bullying schoolmates and protective parents, William was inspired to take up wheelchair sports by a former police officer, shot in the line of duty and paralysed. Wiliam has since competed in Paralympic, World, and Commonwealth Games - and regularly races in ultramarathons (over 60 so far) to support his chosen charities. He has skydived, water-skied, sailed and even climbed a 14-storey building in order to raise money.

Dr Tan became the fastest person to complete seven marathons across seven continents - in 26 days, 17 hours, 43 minutes and 52 seconds. As part of this endeavour, he also became the first person in the world to finish a marathon in the North Pole.

After being diagnosed with leukaemia, William campaigned to lower treatment prices for the poorest cancer sufferers in Singapore. Then, following a successful bone marrow transplant, he completed three more marathons back-to-back - beating his personal best.

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