The Mater Heart Run has become a brand name in counties all over Kenya. Every year in the month of May Mater Misericordiae Hospital holds the Mater Heart Run, an event that raises funds to help children who are born with cardiac conditions and those who develop the conditions. The Mater Heart Run started 20 years ago and since then, more than 3000 children have benefitted from cardiac surgeries and interventions. The beneficiaries are identified from the free cardiac outreach screening camps across the country, especially in areas prone to Rheumatic Heart Diseases.
Sr. Agnes Mativo (in red cap) with some of the beneficiaries from Nyeri County
Behind from Left: Faith Karanja(Staff member), Dr. Betty Chirchir (Governing Council member), and Sr. Regina Kariuki representing Mater at Uasin Gishu County (Eldoret)
During these camps, there is a health talk from the cardiac team. Children are screened and the adults educated on how to identify cardiac complications. Depending on the complexity of the situation, the children are vetted and enrolled for the cardiac program by the cardiac team which consists of cardiologists, cardiac coordinator, cathlab nurses and social workers. It is not a cheap affair. The cost of an open heart surgery ranges from Kshs. 1.5m – 2.5m. Most of the children who are screened come from families that are not financially well off.
Depending on the economic and financial status of the family, the payment strategy is decided. The funds from the Mater Heart Run pays what remains after the family and insurance company if any, has paid. Last year (2018) there were three successful missions done by our local doctors and partners from the Czech Republic, United Kingdom and India. There were 87 surgeries and 108 catheterization procedures.
This year, the Mater Heart Run was held on the 25th of May 2019 in eleven different counties and Sisters of Mercy were present in all these counties on the day representing the Province.
A happy beneficiary
During this Run, the Church, County Government and people of good will came together for this worthy course. It was a phenomenal day in that all the streets in all these counties were painted green. People from every age, culture, race, religion and sex came together for the worthy course. Each year, as is the pattern yearly, there were more people participating in the Run. We had the Church represented by Bishops, Priests and Religious, other churches, corporate partners, County Government officials including Governors among other leaders, students of every age and many other people.
This year, the Church has been fully involved and they participated and promoted the good course. All these for the mending of little hearts. At the end of the day, people took part in touching a child’s heart. All in all, all was done for the love of the child. The rains in most of the Counties did not quench the desire of the participants to make the 10km walk. May God continue touching the hearts of people of goodwill towards charity.
Carolyne Opong’ rsm