Nwankwo Kanu (a.k.a Papilio) is the former Arsenal, Ajax and Inter Milan star had to undergo heart surgery in 1996 and did not return to the football field till 1997.
He came back with a bang and became a huge favourite for Arsenal fans, his breathtaking hattrick in 15 minutes against Chelsea in the 1999-2000 season when his side was down 0-2.
In 2000, the Kanu Heart Foundation was born with the aim of bringing back smiles on the faces of Africa’s children and young adults who suffer from various heart-related diseases.
The mission statement of the charity states ‘The goodwill generated by those who donate for these lives threatening open – heart surgeries cannot be overemphasized as they express their gratitude to the Almighty God, the Nigerians team, Africans and Europeans, corporate bodies, government and various Agencies that have identified with this humanitarian venture of saving lives.
The Foundation has facilitated more than 400 heart surgeries at a success rate of 98.5%, in the world of football, often dominated by news of big-ticket transfers and astronomical weekly wages, the Kanu Heart Foundation shines brightly with its simple message of saving lives and making a difference.
You can find more about the Foundation at http://www.kanuheartfoundationng.com/index.php