Staff at The First Group recently donated a percentage of their salaries to help footballer and First Team member, Nwankwo Kanu’s personal charity, the Kanu Heart Foundation. The Saving One Life at a Time initiative was launched as part of the Nigerian sporting star’s drive to support underprivileged African children who suffer from life threatening heart defects. Shortly after leading Nigeria to an Olympic Gold Medal, Kanu was diagnosed with a serious heart condition and underwent open heart surgery in 1999. Since then he has dedicated his life to helping African children in a similar situation.
"During a recent trip to Nigeria we had the privilege of attending an event at which Kanu was honoured for his illustrious football career. The biggest surprise of the evening came when 14 children, whose lives were saved by heart surgery funded by The Kanu Heart Foundation, joined him on stage," commented Rob Burns, Chief Operating Officer at The First Group." It was during this touching moment that we realized that Kanu was not just a football player but a very special individual who has used his extraordinary talent and fame to save children's lives."
As an amabassador for The First Group, Kanu joins a host of sporting celebrities on The First Team; fellow footballers Michael Owen and Andriy Shevchenko, Russian Tennis star, Svetlana Kutznetsova, Rugby player, Bryan Habana and golf professional, Sam Torrance. In addition to being a brand spokesman for The First Group, Kanu is also a property owner at The Diamond in Dubai Sports City and TFG Marina Hotel in Dubai Marina.