Edinburgh charity KidsOR sets travel challenge to raise money for children's operating rooms in Africa

A children’s charity is challenging businesses across Scotland to see if they can travel 124 miles on a budget of £7.50.

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Kids Operating Room (KidsOR), which raises money for children’s operating rooms in Africa, says that’s the same challenge faced by families in Africa when requiring paediatric surgery.

Long-distance cyclist Mark Beaumont, who is KidsOR’s adventure ambassador, will head up the challenge, named “Business Breakout”, which is due to be launched on World Health Day, April 7.

Garreth Woods and Mark Beaumont

The charity says £7.50 is the average amount a family can spend on transport and 124 miles is the average round trip to access safe surgery.

Mark said: “I’m delighted to be a part of this fun, interactive way of supporting KidsOR’s amazing work to provide safe surgery throughout Africa.

“Business Breakout is the perfect chance to get employees who have been working from home for the best part of two years back together, while raising money for a worthy cause.

“All ages and abilities are welcome to take part – how creative can you be with £7.50?"

Teams of between three and five people will be asked to do a round trip, aiming for at least 124 miles, from either KidsOR’s headquarters in Edinburgh or its logistics base in Dundee, using only their imagination, contact books, wiles, and charm to get onto various forms of transport.

Garreth Wood, KidsOR’s co-founder and chairman, said: “This challenge will share the struggles families face when travelling in the hope of getting safe surgery. There are 1.7 billion children globally who do not have access to surgical care when they need it. KidsOR is addressing this by installing state of the art Operating Rooms and training surgical teams.

“Funds will go directly to transforming the lives of children and how they access surgery. £7.50 may not seem like a lot of money here, but to a family living on less than £1 a day in Africa, it is a huge expense.

“It is often a heart-breaking risk spending money to travel, when at the end of the journey the child may still not be able to access surgical care, or may wait weeks or months hundreds of miles away from home before receiving treatment.

“Kids Operating Room will not stop until every child can access safe surgery. By taking part in Business Breakout, fundraisers can bring lifesaving care closer to home for the children we serve.

“This challenge is also a great opportunity for employees to get together in-person to enjoy themselves, re-establish rapport and hone their entrepreneurial skills.”

Funds raised will support KidsOR work to ensure that all children around the world have access to safe surgery, with each team encouraged to aim for a fundraising target of £10 per mile.

Chris Tiso of outdoor specialist retailer Tiso Group has donated the top prize of a £1,000 voucher to be spent within Tiso Group outlets.

He said: “The team is looking forward to taking part in the charity’s first year of this challenge and is proud to be donating the top prize too. It provides a great opportunity to banish winter blues while coming together and doing something good.”

KidsOR was founded by Nicola and Garreth Wood in 2018. It aims to install 120 paediatric operating rooms across Africa by 2030.

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