A Kenyan man who was paralysed after being shot by carjackers nine years ago has caught the imagination of the nation by embarking on a 4000km journey to South Africa on a manual wheelchair to seek treatment for his spinal injuries.

Zachary Kimotho, a 44-year-old veterinarian, began the journey in June with the aim of raising £1.9 million ($3.7 million) to build a spinal injury treatment unit in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

On the first phase of his journey, Kimotho raised £650,000 and covered 125km of the route to South Africa, where the nearest spinal cord injury rehabilitation centre is. Kimotho, who was near the border of Tanzania and Kenya, said he had continued despite cold and wet weather and the blisters on his hands.

Kimotho was selected to be the face of the campaign organised by the Kenyan Paraplegic Organisation to raise awareness of the suffering of spinal injury patients in Kenya. They appealed for the public to help "Bring Zack Back Home", urging Kenyans to each contribute a Kenyan shilling (about 2c) in the hope that enough money would be raised to build the unit, saving Kimotho from his arduous journey.


- Observer