, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 27 – Capital Group Limited has once again partnered with the Mater Hospital, the Standard Group and Safaricom, for this year’s Mater Heart Run which targets to raise Sh35 million.
The annual event aims to raise the funds to perform open heart surgeries on needy children.
“There are over 2,000 kids who have had open heart surgery who would otherwise have not managed to get this surgery because of the cost implication,” said Capital Group’s General Manager Cyrus Kamau at this year’s launch.
Last year’s the Mater Heart Run raised Sh29 million which was used to perform open heart surgeries on 150 children while another 80 children went through other types of surgeries.
“That is why we call upon you to come and run for those 10 kilometres… it is for a worthy cause; come and see the beneficiaries also and you will realise that you have impacted people’s lives,” Kamau urged.
Eight-year-old Kevin Mwendo benefited from the run’s programme last year.
“I used to get sick all the time. I would get tired quickly while playing or walking and then my mum brought me here (Mater Hospital) where I was treated and cured. It was all because of God and the people who contributed,” the young boy said as he narrated his story to the guests.
Seven-year-old Gladys Kimani is also a beneficiary of last year’s open heart surgeries.
According to her mother Jacinta Wanjiru, the young girl started getting sickly since infancy and she would be in and out of hospitals.
At five years old, Gladys was diagnosed with a heart condition, due to a hole in her heart.
“I thought she would die and I also feared for her to undergo an operation. I was insisting on drugs but I was told there are none,” she recalls.
Coming from a humble background, Wanjiru could not raise the funds required for her daughter to undergo the surgery. That is when a doctor at Kenyatta National Hospital referred her to Mater Hospital where they run a cardiac programme.
“They (Mater Hospital) told me to raise Sh1,500 and they would cater for the rest of the costs. I paid this in instalments and after the heart run in May last year, they informed me Gladys would undergo the surgery in June. It was done and now she is well,” she says.
Mater Hospital Chief Executive Officer John Muriithi noted that the cardiac programme has grown over the years and 90 percent of operations were now being done in the country by local doctors.
He said that only 10 percent of the children were being taken abroad for treatment.
“There are two types of heart conditions that affect children- congenital heart disease which a child is born with and rheumatic heart disease which is acquired,” he stated.
This year’s event will be held on May 26.