Annual walk/run will help construct dental, eye unit in Uganda |

Annual walk/run will help construct dental, eye unit in Uganda

Submitted to The Union
From left, Phil Ruble and Mimi Simmons build a house for a Batwa pygmy family in 2018. Ruble and Simmons are generous Kellermann Foundation supporters and race sponsors.
Submitted to The Union

know & go

What: 10th annual Batwa Challenge 5K walk/run and 10K run

When: 7 a.m. registration, 8 a.m. start

Where: Pioneer Park, 421 Nimrod St., Nevada City

The 10th annual Batwa Challenge will be held 8 a.m. Saturday at Pioneer Park in Nevada City.

The 5K walk/run and 10K run will traverse Nevada City’s picturesque trail system. Race directors Julie McManus and Dr. Sarah Woerner have laid out an incredible course. Participants will travel through the forests surrounding Nevada City, winding their way across the suspension bridge over Deer Creek, all while supporting the good work of the Kellermann Foundation.

The proceeds from this year’s race will be applied to constructing a dental and eye unit, through the Kellermann Foundation, at the Bwindi Community Hospital in southwest Uganda. Over the last decade the Bwindi Community Hospital has been supported by the generosity of Nevada County residents. The hospital has grown from a small mobile clinic under a tree, delivering life-saving treatment to the Batwa pygmies, to a full-service 135 bed hospital.

Currently the Bwindi Community Hospital, which serves a population of 250,000, has only one dental chair. With the support of local dentist Dr. Jean Creasey, and the collaboration of several dentists and dental schools, a 10-chair dental clinic is planned. Dental care is largely inaccessible in rural Uganda and this dental clinic will function as a teaching site for dental health officers, greatly expanding capacity in the future.

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Blindness in children is particularly problematic in this region of the world. Half of the children in sub-Saharan Africa who are blind will die within a year, usually from accidents which often involve cooking fires. The good news is that most of the diseases that cause blindness are preventable and treatable. A vision clinic will soon be built, which will restore sight to the blind by proving surgery for cataracts and other eye conditions. This facility will be a hub for training medical officers in vision care at the Bwindi Community Hospital. Both dental and medical officer programs will be unique in a region of 1.5 million people.

Please join us for the 10th Annual Batwa Challenge on Saturday. Registration is at 7 a.m. The race starts at 8 a.m. at the Pioneer Park band shell. Walk or run this beautiful course and thereby support a cause which will vastly improve the lives of many.

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