New Zealand’s 2019 Sportsman of the Year Israel Adesanya is showing his support in the fight against COVID-19.
The mixed martial arts exponent and UFC middleweight world champion is dipping into his own pocket to provide 10,000 three-ply face masks and 1000 eye protection face shields for Whanganui’s frontline health staff.
Israel Adesanya said it is a small way of helping; but a small thing can go a long way.
“I can’t do it for the whole world; but I can help the communities I know, the places that I have been a part of.”
He is also supplying personal protective equipment (PPE) in Auckland; where he now lives, and the Nigerian city of Lagos, where he was born.
Israel Adesanya came to Whanganui as a teenager with his parents. His family still lives here, with his mum, Tai, a nurse in the emergency department at Whanganui Hospital.
The UFC champion first developed an interest in mixed martial arts and also it was in Whanganui that he started a kickboxing career that has taken him to the international stages.
Whanganui District Health Board (DHB) chief executive Russell Simpson said he was humbled by Adesanya’s generosity.
“The DHB is extremely grateful that Israel has DHB staff; and the healthcare community in his thoughts as we fight against COVID-19. On behalf of all of the staff at Whanganui DHB, we thank him for his generous donation.”
Don’t tell anyone though.
I’m just tryna be “hUmBLe” ? https://t.co/OtziafzjED
— Israel Adesanya (@stylebender) April 15, 2020
Also, Didier Drogba has allowed his hospital in Ivory Coast; meanwhile, to be used as a coronavirus treatment centre.
The generous offer from the Chelsea legend comes amid fears the pandemic could have devastating effects on Africa.
In the Ivory Coast, there have been 574 people who have tested positive for the virus; with the death toll standing at five so far.
The Didier Drogba Foundation opened the hospital in the 42-year-old’s hometown of Abidjan in 2016. The infirmary is named after Ivory Coast footballer Laurent Pokou.
The head of Abidjan’s regional council Vincent Oh Bi Irie expressed his gratitude to Drogba after the gesture.
He said: “We thank Drogba for this gift considered as an act of patriotism.”