All rounder Shahid Khan Afridi may be famous for his sixes, but the auction of his cricketing gear for $89,000, half of which will be donated to the Omair Sana Foundation (OSF), was also impressive.
The foundation organised its first fundraiser event in Houston, US for children battling thalassemia in Pakistan.
Although Afridi’s performance against India in the Asia Cup was not necessarily his best, the bat with which he played received the highest bid of $18,000. A ball, with which he took six wickets against Australia in the ODI played in Dubai in 2009, was auctioned at $12,000 while shirts worn during different tournaments gathered above $15,000.
Other items included Afridi’s gloves, an autographed stump from the recent match played in Bangladesh, a wicket won in the Asia Cup and some more balls. His gear was as popular with the Indian guest as it was with his Pakistani fans. “Thalassemia is a worthy cause and the NGO has been doing excellent work,” Afridi told The Express Tribune over the phone on Friday. The NGO has also worked towards providing emergency relief in natural and man-made disasters. “They have worked with my younger brother to provide employment for young people and I am also aware of their efforts for the flood victims.”
While sharing his own experience of visiting Kharan in Quetta, he emphasised that the country desperately needs basic health facilities. “When I went to Kharan, which is known as the poorest area in the country, we saw that they did not even have clean drinking water. We could imagine the condition of food and their lifestyle from that alone.”
With so much poverty in the country, Afridi said that it gives him immense satisfaction to be able to do something for the country. He has worked for the areas of Muzaffargarh and other parts of Sindh, and is also an ambassador for the Islamic Relief Pakistan.
For a good cause
The OSF general secretary, Dr Saqib Ansari, said that the donated sum will be used for the treatment of children suffering from thalassemia. Currently, there are around 400 patients under the foundation’s care and who receive daily medicines and blood transfusions. The sum required per month for a patient varies between Rs10,000 to Rs15,000 which adds up to a yearly expense of Rs6 million at least. According to Ansari, the foundation also has expansion plans for which they require monetary assistance.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2012.