A MAN from Hillmorton was so moved by what he saw on a trip to Uganda he’s pledged to run 12 marathons in 2013 - one in each month.
Andrew O’Brien, 34, who works in London as an actuary, visited the rural Kiwoko Hospital in Uganda - which helps parts of the country’s rural population – in September. Aside from more commonplace illnesses, the hospital also treats children living with Aids and suffering from malnutrition.
Andrew explained: “I found the experience to be life-changing and have found myself hugely inspired by the strength of character and determination of the people that I met.
“Everyone I met at Kiwoko made a deep impression on me. Ugandans are some of the warmest and most friendly people I’ve ever met and make you feel special and appreciated.
“I believe the richest resource Uganda has is its own people; in the midst of abject poverty, deprivation and sickness the Ugandan people are bursting with life and full of hope. This challenge is aimed at giving them something back.”
Throughout the year he’ll be running marathons in Bermuda, Atlanta, Zurich, Hartford and Singapore as well as the UK and rest of Europe. One marathon, next summer, will take place through the Ugandan bush.
Andrew added: “Patients contribute to the costs of their treatment, but in a rural area with much poverty this is often not possible and the ambition is that no patient should be turned away and the shortfall in the annual budget – currently around £150,000 – is made up of charitable contributions.”
Kiwoko Hospital was started as a clinic under a tree by an Irish missionary, with the aim of aiding a community devastated by war. Uganda has the third highest birth rate in the world – but out of every 1,000 babies born, 63 will die before their first birthday.
ISIS funded and built Kiwoko Hospital’s first ever neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU) to reach this population. Since then, the ISIS Foundation has helped expand the NICU to reach even more babies and provide ongoing medical advisory, training and mentoring for its staff.
To find out more, or to sponsor Andrew, please visit 12in12forisis.com.