First Lady Margaret Kenyatta this morning flagged off the annual Mater Heart Run fundraising event to assist children with cardiac aliments.
This year's event -the 6th edition- was held simultaneously in nine counties and aimed at raising Sh 200 million for the Mater Misericordiae Hospital's cardiac program which has so far benefitted over 3000 children since its inception in 1995.
The First Lady flagged the Nairobi edition of the event at the Jomo Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) grounds while respective Governors were expected to launch similar events in Mombasa, Machakos, Kisumu, Nyeri, Meru, Nakuru , Eldoret (Uasin Gishu) and Mumias in Kakamega County.
Under the Cardiac Program, Mater Hospital identifies and treats children with various types of heart conditions, specifically targeting those from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. Funds raised in this year's event are expected to benefit 200 children.
The First Lady commended the management of the Mater Hospital and its partners for their tireless work in sustaining the momentum of the Cardiac Program for the last 16 years.
She also applauded the runners for their commitment and compassion in supporting the program over the years.
"Because of your commitment and generosity, over 3000 surgeries have been carried out on children who had no other way of affording these lifesaving procedures", the First Lady told the Hospital management, its partners and runners for their support of the cardiac program.
She said participating in running events like the marathon-for which she is popularly known for- is both a commitment and a personal challenge.
The Cardiac program has over the last 16 years grown from 20 heart surgeries to 200 cases a year, majority of who are Kenyan children whose parents cannot afford the cost of cardiac surgery.
The list of the Cardiac program beneficiaries, a few of whom attended today's flagging-off ceremony, includes a two-month baby and an 18year adolescent.
Mater Hospital was represented at the ceremony by its Chief Executive Officer Prof. Dominic Mwenja, the chairperson of its Governing Council Prof. Henry Thairu and the Head Trustee Sr Anne Itotia among others.