, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 18 – Like any eight-year old boy, he can barely stay seated and keeps weaving his way in-between the tables so he can access the buffet table; he’s got the appetite of a growing boy as well.
Two years ago however, Kofi Anan could barely keep his food down and he did not have the energy to get to the bathroom, let alone make numerous trips to a buffet table.
Anan is at the launch of the 18th annual Mater Heart Run slated for Saturday May 25; a run that made all the difference for him last year when he had his defective heart valve repaired.
“Chelsea is my favourite football team but I’d get sad when I watched them play because I knew I didn’t have the energy to play like them,” Anan tells Capital FM.
Corrective heart surgery, Mater Hospital’s CEO John Muriithi says, can cost anything between Sh500,000 and Sh2 million which is out of reach for many families.
In 2012 however, 216 children benefitted from heart surgery and 10,500 more got tested for rheumatic heart disease due to benefactors like Capital FM and Safaricom as well as thousands of others who participated in the run and managed to raise Sh41 million.
The target this year is Sh100 million up from an initial target of Sh50 million on account of a challenge posed to Safaricom by the Capital Group Managing Director Cyrus Kamau.
“We have for the last 10 years supported this event and there is nothing that we’d rather see than the Mater Heart Run grow from strength to strength,” Kamau said at the launch.
“The middle class in this country is growing and if Maslow were to develop his hierarchy of needs today, airtime would come right after food, clothing and shelter. I’d like to challenge our co-sponsor therefore to make it possible for Kenyans to make donations. And if 100,000 Kenyans make a Sh100 donation we’ll have no problem raising Sh100 million up from the initial Sh50 million target.”
Safaricom’s Chief Executive Officer, Bob Collymore, took up the challenge and Kenyans will for the first time be able to contribute for the surgeries at no charge via M-PESA as they did during the Kenyans-4-Kenya drought mitigation campaign in 2011.
“Heart ailments are perhaps the most expensive to treat, and in the current social economic conditions there are many families that find themselves in a helpless position. That is why we have taken this decision to ensure that more children get treated for heart conditions,” Collymore explained.
You can use the paybill number 526300 to make your contribution or buy a T-shirt in support of the run at Sh1,000 from various Nakumatt Supermarkets and, ‘touch a child’s heart.’
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