TORONTO, Feb. 28, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Mark Lievonen, President of Sanofi Pasteur Limited, wishes to congratulate players of the Langley British Columbia Little League baseball team and their families and supporters for the initiative and success of the Canada-Uganda Pearl of Africa Baseball series.
"This was more than just a baseball game," says Mr. Lievonen. "This was a small group of Canadians who made a difference in a very big way."
Seven months ago, it was announced that the first African team ever to qualify for the Little League World Series would not have the chance to compete. Many players' visa applications for travel to the United States were denied because their birth certificates were unavailable, a common situation in a country where many people are not born in hospitals. Uganda was scheduled to play Canada in August in Pennsylvania.
When British Columbia resident Ruth Hoffman read about the Ugandan team's disappointment, she felt it was a great injustice. "These young players had worked and trained very hard to earn their spot in the World Series, and I was shocked to see that they were denied this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," she says. She put her disappointment into action and quickly teamed up with Right To Play, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children in some of the world's poorest areas through the power of sport and play.
With support from Right To Play and many donors and sponsors, they helped the Canadian team raise the funds needed to cover the cost of sending them to Africa so they could play the game they were meant to play. In fact, they did so well that they also raised enough money to contribute to other initiatives that will benefit the Ugandan players for years to come.
"We're really proud that Sanofi Pasteur played a role in this extraordinary mission," explains Mr. Lievonen. The company donated the various vaccines needed by the team to travel overseas, protecting the young players from meningococcal disease, hepatitis A and yellow fever. "We're also very thankful to our partner, the International Travel Health and Vaccination Clinic in Langley BC, which administered the immunizations."
"The Ugandan team ended up winning the historic game in Nakirebe 2 to 1, but it's fair to say that everyone involved came away with a new sense of pride and accomplishment--and this is what team spirit is all about!" concludes Mr. Lievonen.
Sanofi, a global and diversified healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients' needs. Sanofi has core strengths in the field of healthcare with seven growth platforms: diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, rare diseases, consumer healthcare, emerging markets and animal health. Sanofi is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).
Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, provides more than 1 billion doses of vaccine each year, making it possible to immunize more than 500 million people across the globe. A world leader in the vaccine industry, Sanofi Pasteur offers the broadest range of vaccines protecting against 20 infectious diseases. The company's heritage, to create vaccines that protect life, dates back more than a century. Sanofi Pasteur is the largest company entirely dedicated to vaccines. Every day, the company invests more than EUR 1 million in research and development. For more information, please visit: www.sanofipasteur.com or www.sanofipasteur.us
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Image with caption: "The Canadian Little League Team in Uganda (CNW Group/SANOFI PASTEUR)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120228_C8064_PHOTO_EN_10511.jpg
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