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The 4th annual RunQ8 marathon raises funds to treat children with disabilities
November 29, 2014, 12:21 pm

In its fourth year, RunQ8, the 10km race founded by Fawzia Sultan Rehabilitation Institute (FSRI) and Agility, saw over 1,650 participants run in support of raising funds to treat underprivileged children with physical and cognitive disabilities in Kuwait at FSRI’s non-profit Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center (CERC).

CERC is the first facility of its kind in Kuwait providing comprehensive and multidisciplinary rehabilitation evaluations and care for children with physical and/or cognitive disabilities with the aim of improving their overall quality of life.

Medical Director of FSRI, Dr. Elham Al Hamdan, said: “The Center responds to a paramount need in Kuwait to provide comprehensive assessments and on-going care to children who suffer from disabilities. We want to give each child who suffers from a physical and/or cognitive disability the chance to be treated by funding part or fully the program each child requires to live a better life.”

Each year, RunQ8 supports a health cause. For the second year in-a-row, all proceeds will go to funding treatments providing to children with disabilities at CERC.

Dr. Elham Al Hamdan added: “Last year, we were able to fully fund treatment for 20% of children whose parents could not afford the expenses, and subsidized fees for 60% of children. We also continued to provide very affordable treatment to children on a sliding scale fee basis for families with limited resources. In addition, we continue to provide our high quality care to families with resources to fund their children’s care. We know that treating a child is a long-term process and weighs on families psychologically and financially, and this is why we continue to support them with their financial needs and most importantly by providing them with a long-term specialized care at international standards.”

CERC provides affordable treatments that cater to all segments of society, and all nationalities.  Children who are eligible for the funded program are screened to determine those who are the most vulnerable and who can gain the greatest benefit from the FSRI clinical team.  CERC fee structure is affordable to the average family in Kuwait, and funds some of the treatments for children through the support of various community entities and donors, as well as through the annual RunQ8 charity marathon. CERC also treats referrals from Bayt Abdullah Hospice for terminally ill children without fees. CERC also provides training, education and referral services, working closely with community partners to build local capacity to serve these children.

RunQ8 is organized with a clear mandate to raise public awareness on health issues affecting communities in Kuwait, supporting medical institutions, as well as encouraging healthy living amongst the community-at-large. The run started and ended at Marina Crescent on the Gulf Road and was supported by founding partner Agility, silver sponsor NIKE, bronze sponsor ASAR Legal, as well as other companies including Tareq Co., iSqueeze, Porsche and IKEA.

The first place awards went to Renata Hopawa in the women's category and Elkanah Kibet in the men's category. Second place winners were Wendy Ulrich in the women's category and Pablo Gonzales in the men's category. Third place awards were Leah Theresa Korf in the women's category and Knud Hermasen in the men's category. First place in the 16-18 Youth category for girls was Layan Al Dabt and Marya Arafat in second place, while James Gribble came in first place for boys and Youssef Alqanae in second place.

Dr. Hamdan added: “We thank each participant for supporting RunQ8’s cause and funding part of the children’s treatment this year. Often times families delay treatment for their child due to financial constraints. Other times, families cannot afford the long-term specialized care that they need to seek abroad. This leads to an interruption in the continued care necessary for the child’s development during the interim period, which very often results in a new set of disabilities in the child."

CERC works in partnership with the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in Canada, which provides consultation and support in following the best practices for the care of children, in the strategic and clinical development of programs through regular consultations and practice partnerships, as well as in the implementation of new programs during the year.

CERC’s program is an intensive one and includes pediatric physical therapy, psychological assessment and support, speech and audiology therapy as needed, as well as occupational therapy. Parents also receive training to ensure they understand their child’s condition and promote their child’s well-being through daily interactions at home.

Through CERC, FSRI aims to foster communication and cooperation between all practitioners caring for the child in order to work together towards a common goal, both within FSRI and with the wider healthcare community in Kuwait.

To fully fund treatments, CERC screens children to identify those who will be best served by the team of clinicians, as well as to assess the families’ ability to pay for these services. If a family is unable to afford care or can only make partial payments, the Center will subsidize or cover costs through the help of donations and other services.

Dr. Hamdan concluded: “We have a vision that no child should be left behind, and that’s what we aim to achieve at the Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center and in the long-term for the children in Kuwait.”

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