NAIROBI, Kenya, May 16 – Thousands of Kenyans on Saturday participated in the Mater Heart Run which is aimed to raise Sh90 million for heart operations for underprivileged children.
The event seeks to assist over 100 children with heart conditions get specialised treatment at the Mater Hospital. Capital FM which has been at the forefront in spearheading the event was led by its Chairman Chris Kirubi who called on Kenyans to join the noble cause.
“The support we are giving to those children is heart touching. Please, come and join this cause,” Mr Kirubi urged.
“Nobody likes to be born with a weak heart but if you got it, your fellow Kenyans must do something to support you and that is what we are here to do,” he added.
Safaricom Limited Chief Executive Officer Michael Joseph who is one of the key sponsors of the event urged participants to keep the charity flame burning.
“The most important thing is that your contributions are going to help save somebody’s life. It’s not often that you will do such a thing,” Mr Joseph stated.
“Can you imagine how many more heart operations can we do this year if each one of you just sent Sh100 by M-PESA to 333,333?” he posed.
Garsen Member of Parliament Danson Mungatana was also among the participants. He challenged Kenyans to pay constant attention to their health by exercising regularly.
“Our lifestyles are changing and we also need to change the way we live. We have to think of keeping fit as well as a matter of cause not something you do because there is a run,” the MP stated.
“It is something that we need to do because of the kind of lifestyles that we have nowadays. You jump in the morning into your car you go to work, you jump into your car, and you go home,” he added. “If you do not exercise, you are waiting for heart trouble someday.”
Other participants outlined some of the benefits that the run would bring to those having heart conditions.
“Its is not just the donor but it is now all of you who are giving the opportunity to those children to join hands and unite and give them the chance to also have healthy lives,” said one of the participants.
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 catheterization for them to live a normal life.
While this surgery is available in Kenya, it is often too expensive for Kenya’s poor to afford, meaning that lives are lost where they should be saved. The Government spends Sh47 billion on health care, which is inadequate to cater for specialised treatment like heart ailments.
The annual Heart Run raises funds for children in need of this type of surgery, and gives participants a welcome chance to donate to the future of Kenya, while enjoying the challenge of the run.