FORMER Captain of the Super Eagles, Kanu Nwankwo, yesterday launched a lottery fund for his Kanu Nwankwo Cardiac Centre, which is estimated to take about N5 billion.
The project will be executed through the Kanu Nwankwo Heart Foundation, with money that will be raised from the lottery tagged: “Kanu Heal the Heart Lottery”.
According to coordinator of the foundation, Onyebuchi Abia, the project will include a well-equipped hospital that will major in cardiac cases and it will be set up within the Federal Capital Territory.
The coordinator, who revealed that the Foundation had handled over 450 heart cases since it was established in 2002, also disclosed that the Federal Government had already shown its support for the Foundation by approving a piece of land in the FCT for the location of the estimated 40-bed hospital.
According to him, the Foundation, as well as other Nigerians, have been spending a lot in foreign currencies when they travel abroad for heart-related treatments, adding that it would offer free heart surgery to Nigerians within the ages of one and 12 if completed.
Abia also revealed that a test-run of the heart surgery in Nigeria had already been conducted by the Foundation in Enugu with about 20 doctors from the various parts of the world, an exercise he noted, gave the Foundation the courage to commence its bid to establish the centre in Nigeria so as to reduce the pains of Nigerians who suffer from heart-related sickness.
At the media launch, Nwankwo noted that he initiated the lottery programme to urge Nigerians to contribute their own quota in his efforts to save those suffering from heart diseases.
He stressed the need to have a functional cardiac centre in Nigeria considering the number of people from the country who travel abroad for treatment of heart-related cases.
“I have won a lot of trophies and medals in football. Till this day, the best trophy I have won and cherished more has been saving souls through the Kanu Nwankwo Heart Foundation. Whatever we do in trying to save a life will not be forgotten and I urge Nigerians to key into this effort of ours to save the numerous souls who are suffering from heart-related problems”, he said.
The former Arsenal and Portsmouth FC player once had a heart problem.