November 17, 2014, Cape Town, South Africa – Team Alvimedica skipper Charlie Enright and crew member Dave Swete made an emotional visit this morning to the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital. The two Volvo Ocean Race sailors were shown around the Intensive Care Unit and they met a number of the children in the cardiology ward, and even playing games with some of the young patients.
During the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Cape Town, Team Alvimedica has helped raise funds and build support for the Paediatric Cardiac Society of South Africa (PCSSA). At the end of their visit to the Hospital, the only children’s hospital in sub-Saharan Africa, Enright presented a cheque raised from the proceeds of two charity auctions to Dr. Liesl Zühlke, President of the charity.
“We're very excited to have Team Alvimedica at the hospital today and for the support they've given us,” said Dr. Zühlke. “Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect and affects at least 1 in every 100 children. This is a very difficult time in families’ lives and information regarding the condition and what is to be expected from surgery is crucial.
“Also, most of the kids have never heard of a yacht race before, we are telling them more about it, providing something light and entertaining for them. Having Team Alvimedica here in Cape Town has really helped raise awareness, and media coverage for the Society has really snowballed.”
Team Alvimedica has auctioned places on-board the Volvo Ocean 65 race boat for the Pro-Am racing on Table Bay, and also the coveted ‘Jump Seat’ for the highest bidder in another auction. On Wednesday, the ‘Jump Seat’ winner will depart Cape Town on board the boat for the first hour of the race towards Abu Dhabi before jumping overboard and being brought safely back to dry land.
Enright was moved by his visit to the hospital. “What we did this morning gives us a more worldly perspective, to appreciate what else is going on in the world while we're sailing around it. The Volvo Ocean Race gives us an opportunity to touch a number of local communities and it's great for us to be able to give back, not just here, but everywhere we go.”
Crew member Dave Swete commented: “I had mixed feelings coming here this morning because I've got a little daughter, and it’s the worst thing in the world to think that your kid could get sick. But I've come away from here thinking that at least we've done something. It's small, but it's a start, and if we can keep doing that around the world, then that’s something that makes me proud.”
CEO of Alvimedica, Dr. Cem Bozkurt, who joined the sailors at the hospital, said: “We are really pleased to have initiated this auction process, to be able to go to a country’s paediatric heart disease association or hospital and make a donation towards the children's well-being. All of the proceeds from the Cape Town auction will now contribute to the great work done by the Paediatric Cardiac Society of South Africa.”
For the details of this auction opportunity, visit the team web site at www.teamalvimedica.com/auction.
The Paediatric Cardiac Society of South Africa is a “not for profit” professional association of paediatric cardiologists and cardiac surgeons with the major objective being to improve the quality of care for children with congenital and acquired heart disease. Central tenets are the promotion of research, support of education and training and advocacy. A special interest group of the SA Heart Association, the organization is strongly affiliated to PASCAR, the Pan-African Society of Cardiology – thus answering to the needs of the children of all of Africa. It is the primary advocacy group for children with heart disease in South Africa and the continent. Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect in the world, with one in every 100 children born affected.
Team Alvimedica is the youngest entry in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015, the world's toughest and longest sporting event. The crew is led by American skipper Charlie Enright, age 30. Alvimedica, the European based medical devices company, is the team’s owner. Founded in 2007, Alvimedica is a fast growing challenger in the global field of interventional cardiology, committed to developing minimally-invasive technologies. This is the team’s first entry in the extremely challenging 39,000-mile race that started October 11, 2014 from Alicante, Spain and features stopovers in 11 ports around the world.
– Team Alvimedica