It’s that time of the year again, so get out your running shoes! RunQ8 is the 10K race held every year in Kuwait to support local health initiatives, raise awareness about health issues and promote community health awareness and well-being. This year RunQ8 will be held on November 29th to raise money for the Fawzia Sultan Rehabilitation Institute (FSRI) non-profit Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center (CERC).
Last year, the organizers had to close the registration with 1200 showing up to show their support and have a fun day out, as demand exceeded the target. This year RunQ8 have expanded and will admit 2000 registrants. Register now to ensure that you get your race number and chip. For those who do not wish to run, RunQ8 still encourages you to come out on race day and walk, or you can contribute directly to CERC and sponsor the care of a child or donate your registration fee. On Race Day, the RunQ8 Race Village is sponsored by local businesses who contribute to this community effort to improve health care for children. It is a nice lively place to hang out and have a drink to recover from the race or wait for friends and family who are running.
The RunQ8 team also encourages companies and school groups to join the race. Last year, Alghanim Industries turned up with around 160 racers and ACICO joined the race with over 70 participants. Bayan Bilingual School also joined with over 100 student runners and volunteers. If you have a group interested in participating, please contact FSRI through the RunQ8 website and RunQ8 will send registration forms to your institution. They even provide a reduction in the race fee for groups of over twenty. This is a great team building and community service activity and groups are recognized at the end of the race.
Not only is RunQ8 fun to participate in, it has tangible immediate results in our community. As a result of the contributions of the runners and race sponsors and donors, CERC was able to provide free treatment to 16%, and subsidize the treatment for 22%, of children in need. The children are prioritized by vulnerability and appropriate match for the rehabilitation treatments offered at the center. CERC also contracts with Bayt Abdullah to treat any referrals free-of-charge and provides referrals for those children who are not able to utilize CERC services, in addition to organizing training for local healthcare workers in pediatric rehabilitation. Contributions of sponsors and runner registration fees go directly to support children in need of rehabilitative care who would have limited or no access to the type of treatment offered in CERC.
Family resources are often stretched to the limit when a child with disabilities and injuries needs ongoing rehabilitation and at CERC, the goal is to take the most vulnerable children whose needs can be met in the CERC facilities and provide them with treatment options that improve their quality of life. The funds generated from the run allow CERC to admit a number of vulnerable children who would otherwise have nowhere to turn. CERC works with children of different ages and nationalities, with a range of needs, tailoring care after assessment by a multidisciplinary team consisting of a pediatric physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech and audiology therapist, and clinical psychologist. An untreated disability in a child creates more disabilities – without intervention a child may be forced to live with chronic pain or social isolation. Families struggle with the costs and time that must be invested in care, and CERC mitigates this burden and gives hope to the family and child for a better quality of life.
CERC is committed to providing treatment but also building the capacity of our local healthcare sector to improve treatment in the area of children’s rehabilitation for children of all nationalities. Currently, in Kuwait, there are only two pediatric physical therapists, and there is no established multi-disciplinary child rehabilitation evaluation team other than the CERC team. While they provide care to a number of children, they know that our local partners are the key to the future and their model is one of collaboration, providing training and expertise to support local clinicians. CERC also implements outreach programs to community focal points – educators, school personnel, social workers, family doctors and others who regularly work with children. CERC encourages this partnering so that more people in our community have the skills needed to identify children who may need help and are made aware of the various care options in Kuwait.
CERC also conducts research related to children’s rehabilitation in Kuwait, and works by providing training for visiting international graduate clinicians through the University of Alberta who donate their time to work in CERC with the children. CERC is also partnering with the largest rehab center in Canada, Glenrose Rehabilitation, in order to ensure the best practice. All of CERC’s efforts require community partnership and RunQ8 is at the center of this effort to raise awareness.
Fawzia Sultan Rehabilitation Institute (FSRI) with Agility Logistics, their Founding Partner, initiated RunQ8 in 2010. Since then, the race has grown by 82%, with participants and volunteers from many different nationalities and ages joining in to make this a great day. Runners last year were evenly divided between men and women, and more than 50% of the runners were Kuwaitis, which is a significant change in the race demographic from the first year. Over 120 volunteers distributed water, helped with ambulances, and race set-up and breakdown. It is exciting to have such a diversity of enthusiastic participants and supporters all join together for the sake of these children. Local sponsors also deserve a big thank you as more and more businesses realize the value of giving back to their local community. We hope you will come out and join this event on November 29th to make this year’s RunQ8 the best yet!