updated March 30, 2016
3/30 update here: We’ve already sent $1,000 for the funeral of runner Ashagre Girma and $4,000 for Damtew Tilahun to have a critical surgery.
A tragic accident has occurred in Ethiopia. On Saturday morning, a group of distance runners were hit by a truck while running in Sululuta, just north of Addis Ababa. All told, nine people were injured, five seriously, including one fatality. Yonas Mekonnon of Rehoboth Athletics says the following people were the most injured.
1. Ashagre Girma – 25 years old. Deceased.
2. Damtew Tilahun – 24 years old. Severe head and neck injury. He is in critical condition and needs surgery. (Also known as Damte Wondensentilahun and Wendwesen Tilahun. PR of 2:17:37 from Pune Marathon in December)
3. Tamrat Worku – 28 years old. Broken leg. Tamrat Worku Hagos ran a 62:29 PR for the half marathon in Jaipur, India, on January 25.
4. Teshome Hailu – 27 years old. Broken leg and left hand.
5. Ashebir – 24 years old. Broken leg.
We were even sent a photo of the deceased, Ashagre Girma, just thrown on a cot on his side but didn’t feel like it should be published.
The other four suffered minor injuries and are no longer in the hospital.
With Ethiopia being a developing country, running on the highway is something nearly all runners do – even top stars. Additionally, health insurance isn’t something people have, and for the most part, healthcare is handed out only after people pre-pay for the services. We at LetsRun.com would like to raise money to help those injured (Damtew Tilahun is in critical condition and likely needs surgery) and help with the funeral expenses of Ashagre Girma.
Twelve years ago, LetsRunners helped raise money for a life-saving surgery in Kenya. Can we do it again?
We urge you to donate now here on YouCaring.com. We chose YouCaring as they don’t charge a 5% fee like GoFundMe. They have a suggested “tip” which you can reduce to whatever you want including zero (we reduced it to $5). We’ve kicked things off with a $500 donation ourselves. You can donate anonymously if you want. We don’t know how much things are going to cost (Yonas Mekonnon is supposed to get an estimate of the medical expenses on Tuesday) but have started with $20,000 as our goal. In addition to medical bills, we’d like to help with the funeral expenses and help the deceased’s family.
The donations will be spent in the following order: 1) Medical expenses 2) Funeral expenses 3) Help the deceased’s family/compensation for those that can’t race. If we receive an excess amount of money, we’ll donate it to an Ethiopian charity.
Donate Now Here: https://www.youcaring.com/Ethiopian-Distance-LetsRun
Update on 3/30/16: We’ve already sent out more money than we’ve raised the hospital needed a $4,000 pre-payment. We’ve also sent $1,000 to pay for funeral expenses and transport the decesead’s body. Details here: MB: Update on Ethiopian runners – Gravely injured runner has been transferred to private hospital – Please donate
If you’re skeptical this is some sort of scam, Yonas Mekonnon of Rehoboth Athletics is registered with the IAAF. LetsRun.com’s former Ethiopian correspondent Teferi Debebe knows him and also heard about the accident on Ethiopian radio and Facebook. Additionally, Mekonnon has been to the house of the parents of LetsRun.com co-founders Robert and Weldon Johnson to visit Debebe when Debebe lived there when he first arrived in the United States.