Campaign to stop wheelchair cruise launched

Zack Kimotho is paralyzed from the waist down

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 9 – The Kenyan Paraplegic Organization (KPO), a local charity working for persons living with traumas of a spinal cord injury in Kenya, on Saturday unveiled a public campaign dubbed ‘Bring Zack Back Home’ to raise Sh250 million for the construction of a rehab centre for spinal cord injury victims.

The initiative ( http://www.bringzackbackhome.com ) which is backed by Safaricom Limited in partnership with mainstream media and other key stakeholders is a public campaign intended to mobilize resources and fundraise in favor of the ongoing construction of the first and only Rehabilitation and Trauma Center in Kenya.

KPO project Zack (Zack Kimotho), who is paralyzed from the waist down- the personality in the campaign; is a person living with the traumas of a spinal cord injury following a tragic car-jacking incident back in January 2004.

The incident left him distraught with thoughts of hopelessness, self-denial and uselessness. At best, he only could contemplate suicide.

He is yet to recover due to the lack of appropriate rehabilitation – a perfect example of many with similar conditions.

In search of the rehabilitation services, Zack is travelling down to South Africa to the nearest Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Center on the continent with resolve to positively improve his life. The launch marks the set-off for the journey.

The public will be updated by way of social media of the progress of the journey and amounts collected thereat with vedio clips posted on YouTube and still images on facebook and twitter.

To save Zack from enduring the tribulation of wheeling to South Africa, the campaign has been is conceived to implore the public to support the construction of a local spinal injury rehabilitation facility in Kenya.

The public is requested to donate just Sh1 or Sh10 every day for sixty days of the campaign period by way of subscribing to *555# from a Safaricom line. Meticulous publicity through mainstream media will be carried out to reach out to at least 10 million people.

The KPO Rehabilitation and Trauma Center is the first and only Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Center in Eastern and Central Africa.

Presently under construction, it is anticipated to cost up to Sh250 million- an amount to high for any donor.

The absence of such a facility presently compels to travel in quest of rehabilitation services abroad with South Africa and Egypt being the only destinations in Africa. Statistics indicate that it costs a minimum of Sh9 million to rehabilitate one person, an amount too high for an individual.

Unfortunately, incidences of spinal injuries are on the rise thanks to the frequent accidents on our roads, collapsing structures mainly in urban centers, fire outbreaks, car-jacking and most recently; threats of explosions posed to Kenyans by the Al-Shabaab attacks following invasion of Somalia.

A good illustration is the last week’s Assanands Building’s explosion in the CBD that left about twenty-eight people admitted to the Kenyatta National Hospital and another one in Wajir barely two days after.