Runners in UAE unite for a great cause
Unity Run puts spotlight on special needs
Tomorrow, thousands of people are expected to take part in the Unity Run to raise money for the Al Noor Centre for Children with Special Needs.
The centre teaches 250 children of 35 nationalities, many with complex needs. It also subsidises fees for those that cannot pay the full amount, about Dhs70,000 per year.
The money raised will go towards plugging an annual funding gap of about Dhs8 million.
Among the children that benefit from those subsidised places is Karl Denver Hicban, 11, who has cerebral palsy due to a car accident while his mother, Carren, was pregnant. She received injuries that affected the development of her baby’s brain.
She said: “For the first few years it was really difficult for me because I was really, really losing my hope.
“But the good thing, when I was still pregnant with him, was that he was a healthy boy, so maybe if he wasn’t I may have lost my son because of the impact of the accident.”
Carren said her son had extremely limited ability until he found a place at the centre. She said: “He’s not paralysed. But part of his body, his left side, is weak. When Karl was first admitted to Al Noor Centre, he was not able to sit, not even crawl.”
Carren said that due to Karl’s lack of movement during the first years of his life, he would be confined to watching TV all day.
Karl was on the waiting list for two years before he was admitted to the Al Noor Centre by the age of eight.
But now he has access to a host of experts, including a speech therapist.
Carren said: “Before, when you put him in a chair, he would fall. Now he doesn’t… even if only for few minutes.”
One of Carren’s biggest challenges with Karl was in the way they communicated.
HAPPY FAMILY: The Hicban family said Karl has improved hugely since he was given a discounted place at Al Noor
VARIETY: Pupils are taught a wide range of subjects including art