NAIROBI MAY 24, 2016 (CISA) – Thousands of participants took part in the 14th edition of the Mater Heart Run held in Nairobi and other parts of the country on May 21 in efforts to raise awareness and funds to support children with heart conditions.
This year’s event took place at Nyayo National Stadium and it brought together school children, teachers, employees representing different organisations among others who were clad in green shirts, Shorts Caps and wrist bands.
The event was held simultaneously in Nairobi, Mombasa, Machakos, Mumias, Kisumu and Nyeri and targeted to raise KSh100 million.
“The Mater Cardiac Program begun 20 years ago, when The Mater Hospital realized that very little cardiac work of good quality was being carried out in the region,” Dr Agnes Chege, Chief Executive Officer, The Mater Hospital said in a statement.
“Patients who were financially endowed had to go overseas for treatment. Large majority, many of them children, had no recourse to quality Medicare and were destined to a sickly life and premature death,” she added.
According to Dr Chege, the Mater Hospital therefore, started a cardiac program in 1995 to cater for children from economically disadvantaged background and the first open-heart surgery was performed in 1996.
“This was in line with the Values of the Sisters of Mercy, which emphasize on compassion for all and seek to uplift the lives of the underprivileged in society. To date over 3093 heart procedures have been performed courtesy of the support from well-wishers,” she said.
The Mater Heart Run was started in 2002 as one of the main fundraising avenues for the Cardiac program. 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.