NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 3 – Companies are being urged to take their Corporate Social Responsibility seriously by participating in this year’s Mater Heart Run on May 16.,
The event aims to raise Sh30 million to go towards free heart surgeries for more than 100 beneficiaries.
Capital Group General Manager Cyrus Kamau said on Tuesday that this will ensure that children from needy families who have heart ailments are treated and given the chance to live normal lives.
“We are appealing to all corporates to come and join the Mater Heart Run. This is a worthy cause and goes beyond and over any other thing that you do as an organisation. And we would encourage them to come and participate and support Mater Heart Run 2009,” Mr Kamau said.
Speaking at the same time, Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Michael Joseph urged all Kenyans to use the available M-Pesa service to contribute to the worthy cause.
“It’s an easy way to make a donation. If you don’t want to buy a T-Shirt and want to make a small donation, you can use M-Pesa,” he said.
More than 20,000 participants attended last year’s Mater Heart Run, a 30 percent increase from the 15,000 plus who took part in 2007.
The annual event is organised by Mater Hospital to help ailing children from poor families undergo lifesaving heart operations that they could otherwise not afford on their own.
The operations are performed at the Mater Hospital by visiting cardiac surgeons and cardiologists from Britain and the Netherlands, in conjunction with their Kenyan counterparts, who offer their services free of charge.
Mater Hospital Chief Executive Officer Dr John Muriithi said: "A total of Sh30 million is targeted from this event to assist about 150 patients who need life-saving heart surgery."
This will be the sixth year that Mater Heart Run is raising funds to assist those in need of surgery from heart diseases, and this time round Capital FM and Safaricom are the main sponsors.
Thousands of Kenyan children suffer from serious heart ailments including congenital heart disease and rheumatic heart valve disease.
Most of these children must undergo surgery or cardiac catheterisation for them to live a normal life.
The Government on its part spends Sh47 billion on health care, which is inadequate to cater for specialised treatment like heart ailments.