Nwankwo Kanu, Nigerian football legend and Atlanta ’96 Olympic gold medalist, has appealed to Nigerians to show a little kindness by supporting Kanu Heart Foundation, a non-profit organisation aimed at providing indigent Nigerian children with cardiac (heart-related) diseases or complications to receive life-saving surgeries in Nigeria or abroad. The Foundation was launched in July, 2000 and has since then, helped to save 570 less-privileged children of various ages with heart problems, and has more than 200 children on a list in need of surgery.
Kanu had a heart surgery in 1996, after the summer Olympics, to correct a defect, and also underwent another corrective surgery in the USA in 2014, which was also successful.
The Foundation was the result of the desire of Kanu to contribute his quota to curbing the menace of heart diseases especially in children, having himself survived heart surgery during his active playing career, and returned to active football, surprising doctors and experts. Pastor Onyebuchi Abia, Coordinator, Kanu Heart Foundation (KHF) said that the Foundation has spent $4.2 million on surgeries outside of Nigeria, therefore the establishment of a Cardiac Specialist Hospital will help to reduce these expensive surgeries.
In line with that, the Foundation is proposing a Cardiac Centre in Abuja. The Centre will have the capacity for 250 surgeries per year.
This afternoon, Kanu tweeted, saying “Support Kanu heart foundation @kanuheartf which has saved 570 less privileged people with heart problems and has 200 on the waiting lists. Knowing what we are facing now, show a little kindness, we need your support 🙏🙏🙏 #kindness #support #heart #onelove #africa #saveaheart.”
Kanu, a philanthropist, keeps amazingly fit. He is also the owner of the first indigenous sports television in Nigeria, called Kanu Sports Television. A UEFA Champions League winner, he is one of the most decorated football player globally. He has played for Ajax FC, AC Milan, Arsenal, and Portsmouth. Kanu broke into fame as a winner of the Under-17 FIFA World Cup tournament in 1993. He won the UEFA Champions League with Ajax and the UEFA Cup with AC Milan, as well as two English Premier League titles with Arsenal FC, including the Invincible season of 2003/2004.
The Foundation said that the number of people seeking help with them has increased and they need the resources to not only attend to the immediate numbers needing surgery, but also make efforts for the proposed Cardiac Centre so as to reduce costs.