This spring, Farzana Kabani ran the Woodlands Marathon in Texas to raise money for AKF USA. Farzana set a goal of raising $10,000, and exceeded that goal to raise over $13,000! Below, Farzana shares why she supports AKF and how her family inspires her to give back.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Farzana: I grew up in Vapi, Gujarat in India, and was raised by my strong and independent mother, as my father passed away when I was nine. My town had limited access to university education, so I moved to Mumbai after high school to work two jobs and get a good quality education. My mother insisted on teaching me the value of hard work and perseverance, which has helped me survive and succeed in my career.

I am a chartered accountant and currently work as a Senior Vice President at an investment bank in New York.

A young Farzana with her parents, Farhad Mohmad Kabani and Shahenaz Farhad Kabani

How did you start running marathons?

Farzana: Running is actually quite a challenge for me. I was an athlete in school but with working 12 to 14 hours a day, I never got time to exercise regularly, let alone train for a marathon.

When I came to New York in 2015, I attended the New York City marathon as a spectator and wished to train for it. Then in 2017, my employer encouraged staff to participate in a marathon to raise funds for a charity. That is when I decided to run and train for my first marathon.

Now that I look back after running three marathons, I feel quite accomplished knowing that I have overcome the fear I had of distance running.

AKF USA supporter Farzana holds up her medal while wearing a racing bib
Farzana at the Woodlands Marathon

What inspired you to run this marathon for AKF USA?

Farzana: My inspiration to run the marathon came from my parents, who taught me the value of giving back. I come from a humble background and understand what it means to not have access to basic life needs. I was very fortunate that my parents did whatever they could to never make feel deprived of any opportunity. Now that they are both in heaven, I want to see them smile and feel proud that their daughter is serving the community and following their footsteps in small ways.

With the pandemic affecting communities around the world, I wanted to work with AKF to help those who are affected the most in Asia and Africa. AKF has played a pivotal role in establishing high quality infrastructure, creating jobs, and helping improve the quality of life around the world. I am truly humbled to be part of AKF.

Farzana and her husband, Sadiq

What has been the response from your family and friends?

Farzana: I have received overwhelming support from my family and friends. They have been extremely generous both financially and emotionally. I was able to meet my original goal early on and decided to double my goal. My employer also played a big part by matching the funds raised.

I also want to give special thanks to my husband Sadiq Rahmani, without whom I wouldn’t have been able to cross the finish line. He is my biggest cheerleader and supporter.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.