Voice of Sport

Runner Margaret Kenyatta moves audience during campaign in United States

The funds raised in her most recent efforts will buy Sh40m worth of medical supplies for Chemolingot Hospital, East Pokot, in Baringo County and arrives in Kenya in the next eight weeks


KENYA’S First Lady Margaret Kenyatta received a standing ovation in the US on Friday when she explained why she chose to run marathons rather than enjoy the comfort and trappings of her status.

She told an attentive audience of corporates, investors and political leaders from Arizona that she had chosen the grueling marathons to mobilise resources for the sake of the Kenyan mothers and children who were suffering needless pain and unnecessary deaths.

Mothers and children

And for the first time in the last three years, Margaret said she could have easily chosen the comforts of just being the wife to the Head of State but chose to do something for the vulnerable mothers and children.

Her address which was amplified with a video clip showing her physically running a marathon with thousands of Kenyans struck strong emotions among the audience who literally shed tears.

Critical

I have literally been running marathons and I can understand if that doesn’t immediately strike you as behaviour befitting the wife of a Head of State… but I assure you, it has all been for the greater good”, Margaret, 51, and mother of three young adults.

The First Lady underlined the urgency to ensure all mothers and children access critical healthcare saying facts and statistics of the senseless deaths that continue to occur are staggering and sad. “It is a race to save lives. It is a race against time”, she said.

Beyond Zero

Margaret spoke at the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Resort where she attended a First Lady’s fund-raising luncheon attended by over 1,500 supporters and sponsors of  Beyond Zero, mainly the business community from Arizona.

The funds raised during the luncheon will enable Project C.U.R.E — an international medical supplies relief organization operating in 130 countries, to ship more supplies to Kenya. The first such consignment worth Sh40 million and destined for Chemolingot Hospital, East Pokot, in Baringo County arrives in Kenya in the next eight weeks.

Clinics

Margaret’s said her ultimate goal in running the marathons, besides distributing fully kitted mobile clinics to all the 47 Counties, is to expand the range of equipment available in these clinics.

She said this will make the facilities more inclusive for men, women and children-offering ultrasounds and diagnostic and screening equipment for cancer including cervical cancer screening and treatment.

Distribute

“My goal is to help with the refurbishment of community health facilities and establish 3-4 model centers that provide specialized care for mothers and children.” She emphasised that 36 clinics so far acquired by Beyond Zero have been freely and indiscriminately distributed across the country. Funds have also been raised to purchase and distribute the remaining 11 units.

Margaret added that collaboration between different players including Beyond Zero and Project C.U.R.E can achieve a positive ripple effect towards a shared destiny to help the world make a significant leap in achieving the zero unnecessary deaths for mothers and children.

Founders

The luncheon, sponsored by Melinda Taylor of RTI International was attended by Project C.U.R.E Chief Executive Officer Dr Doug Jackson and his parents who were the founders of the charitable organization Dr James Jackson and Dr Anna Marie Jackson.

Others included the First Lady of Arizona State Angela Ducey and Cindy McCain, wife to Arizona State Senator, John McCain.

–  Additional reporting by president.go.ke