Thursday, October 27, 2011

Alonso lends support to UNICEF anti polio campaign

New Delhi, 27 October – What can a Formula 1 driver do to help a child? For those who, like us, are used to a certain standard of living, the answer is relatively straightforward: you can give happiness in an overtaking move, celebration for a victory, anger for a mistake. However, for those who don’t have time to think of sport as a form of entertainment, but instead have to fight every minute of the day just to survive, these things matter little or not at all. For these children, who unfortunately are still in the majority, a sports personality can set an example in terms of behaviour and can help them feel closer to something that otherwise would be out of their reach.

It is in this spirit that, over four years ago, Fernando Alonso became an ambassador for UNICEF, making his image available to promote initiatives aimed at helping children in the developing world. It was in this different role that today Fernando took part in a UN campaign against poliomyelitis, which is also supported by Bill and Melinda Gates and Desmond Tutu. Fernando visited the paediatric hospital Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya, in New Delhi, along with Hamid Jafari, Project Manager of WHO-National Polio Surveillance Project, K.K. Kalra, the hospital’s Medical Superintendent and A.K.Agarwal, of the Maulana Azad Medical College, where he administered the polio vaccine to a group of young patients: the aim of the campaign is actually to increase awareness among the population of the importance of vaccination against this terrible disease. “The fight against poliomyelitis has made amazing progress in India, to such an extent that the last case was registered last January,” said Fernando to a group of journalists who were present. “There is still much to do, because it is vital that every child has the vaccine so that the disease is wiped out completely from the face of the earth. It is important for me to be here and to do, in my own small way, something useful. Sure, a hospital always brings out strong emotions, usually hard to digest, but seeing the children who, although in a very difficult situation, somehow find a way to smile and to have hope for the future is something that always touches me deeply.”


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