, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 21 – Thousands of participants braved the chilly Saturday morning to take part in the 14th edition of the Mater Heart Run held in Nairobi and other parts of the country in efforts to raise awareness and funds to support children with heart conditions.
The participants of this year’s run, targeting Sh100 million, included school children, teachers, employees representing different organisations among others.
Hilary Mutai, a teacher at All Saints Primary School said he has been taking part in the marathon since 2011.
“I am happy to be part of this course because I know the pain a child goes through when he or she is unwell especially if one has a heart condition,” Mutai said.
Dr Bernard Muia on behalf of Nairobi County Government urged investors to focus on projects that will improve health and also offer affordable health facilities to pevent heart diseases and other lifestyle diseases.
“Supposing we also invest in preventive and promote health care, it’s more cost effective than treating that disease. This is the time when chronic diseases are taking toll on people, the issue of lifestyle has been a challenge and that is why exercising is crucial,” he advised.
The doctor urged people to exercise more and eat healthy foods to keep away such conditions.
Head of Sisters of Mercy Sister Ann Itotia on behalf of Mater Hospital said they hope that the Mater Heart Run could be rolled out to all the 47 counties to help raise money to cater for the high number of children with heart conditions.
She also appealed to well-wishers to continue taking part in the annual marathon to support the course.
Capital FM has been the one of the main sponsors of the event for over ten years now, a noble course which has managed to do heart surgeries to over 3,000 children since the first open heart surgery in 1996.
“We believe in the principle of the future as a business, where if you take care of the young ones, then the country has a future,” Capital FM’Group Managing Director Cyrus Kamau said.
Sunday’s event was targeting at raising Sh100 million expected to facilitate operation of at least 260 children.
The event initially borne in 1996 as Dettol Heart Run has benefited hundreds of children.
Over 240 children benefited from last year’s proceeds.
Mater Hospital has managed to treat, either through surgery or interventional cardiac catheterisation, more than 3,000 patients in the Mater Cardiac Programme that is supported by donations obtained during the run.