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Mesut Ozil Funds Brazilian Surgeries

Fresh off of his World Cup win, German soccer player Mesut Ozil has partnered with Big Shoe to help provide Brazilian children access to surgery. Initially, Ozil had pledged to support 11 surgeries, one for each player on the field, but he increased his promise to 23 surgeries. Each surgery signifies the effort of one of the 23 players of the German national team.

Ozil isn’t the only representative of the soccer world to support the organization. United States national soccer team coach Jurgen Klinsmann also voiced his support for the initiative.

Ozil is expected to donate his FIFA World Cup winnings, approximately $600,000 according to The Telegraph, to aid ill children in Brazil. Throughout the World Cup, the German national team bonded with the Brazilian people.

In the aftermath of the World Cup, many FIFA players have felt this same warmth and generosity toward the host nation.

The Big Shoe Initiative, which Ozil aligned himself with, was founded in 2006 around the time of Germany’s own World Cup. The organization relies on both donations and efforts of countless doctors in order to provide access to surgery for impoverished children. Ozil’s video campaign for the Big Shoe Initiative, a video now on YouTube and many social media websites, has helped garner attention for the nonprofit.

For its work in Brazil, the Big Shoe Initiative hopes to raise enough money to pay for 100 future surgeries.

The surgeries performed by the organization include burn and scar tissue removal, cleft palate corrections and congenital heart and limb disorders among others. The medical treatments are often either too expensive or too specialized for the regions in which the Big Shoe Initiative works.

The World Cup rejuvenated attention and support for the Big Shoe Initiative. Ozil’s generous donation, in particular, will help the organization begin to realize the potential of its coming impact in Brazil.

– Kristin Ronzi
Sources: Big Shoe, The Telegraph,  YouTube
Photo: The Telegraph