The great Andrew Carnegie believed that life should be made up of two phases: The first should go in accumulating wealth, and the second to use that wealth to for charitable purposes. Carnegie believed it was the charitable second phase that made his life worthwhile. The world will see far lesser misery if those blessed with abundance of wealth and power to influence the rich and powerful by using their status in society to uplift the needy. H Natarajan lists 10 cricketers who have done or doing their bit to help noble causes.
1. Ian Botham
The England all-rounder has pushed his body to the limits to support charitable causes with a total of 12 long-distance charity walks. His first in 1985 was a 900-mile trek from John o’ Groats to Land’s End — the whole length of the island of Great Britain, between two extremities from the southwest to the northeast. His charitable efforts were following a visit to hospital to treat a broken toe when he mistakenly entered into a children’s ward. He was shaken to hear that some of the children had just days to live. Since then, he has raised more than £12 million for charity, with leukemia research among the principal beneficiaries. In 2003 he became the first-ever President of Leukemia Research, the UK’s leading blood cancer charity. His sustained charitable efforts, along with his cricketing achievements, earned him a knighthood in 2007 from Queen Elizabeth II.
2. Imran Khan
Few cricketers have done for the lesser-privileged sections of the society as Imran has, especially for his countrymen. Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust is a state-of-the-art charitable organisation in the name and memory of his mother providing free medical care for thousands since inception in 1994. Imran established Pakistan’s first and only cancer hospital in his mother’s honour by raising donations exceeding $25 million from all over the world. The institution has spent over RS 12 billion supporting thousands of poor cancer patients. Seven years ago, he also established a technical college in the Mianwali District called Namal College. About 90% of the students get financial support to study in this college which is affiliated to the University of Bradfordshire in United Kingdom. Imran was also United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund’s (UNICEF) Special Representative for Sports and promoted health and immunization programmes in several countries.
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