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The UEFA Monaco Charity Award has been presented to the Stefano Borgonovo Foundation in support of research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
The €1m cheque was handed over to Stefano Borgonovo's wife Chantal and Italian football great Fabio Cannavaro by UEFA President Michel Platini at tonight's official gala dinner following the UEFA Champions League group stage draw in Monaco.
"This year's Monaco Charity Award reflects UEFA's commitment to improving health across Europe. Those of us who are able to play football may take the ability to move for granted. By donating the funds to the Stefano Borgonovo Foundation we hope to make a positive contribution to ALS treatment research and also provide support to ALS patients and their families," said the UEFA President.
Stefano Borgonovo, the former AC Milan and ACF Fiorentina striker of the late 1980s and early 1990s, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis at the age of 42. It is a severe neurological condition that causes the progressive loss of all muscle function. The Stefano Borgonovo Foundation was set up by the former Italian international, his wife Chantal and eldest daughter Alessandra on 13 December 2008 with the goal of helping the 350,000 ALS sufferers worldwide.
"The foundation is honoured to receive the UEFA Monaco Charity Award, which is the biggest single donation we've ever been given," said Chantal Borgonovo. "With the backing of UEFA we will drive forward our campaign in Italy through much-needed investment into research into stem-cell transplantation therapy for neurological disorders."
The €1m will be spent on pioneering stem-cell research led by Professor Angelo Vescovi, one of the discoverers of brain stem cells. The clinical trial of stem-cell transplantation started when a 31-year-old patient with ALS received injections of stem cells into his spinal cord in June this year in the hope they will slow down the progression of the disease.
The foundation currently provides services to help families of ALS sufferers and will launch Hospital At Home, a pilot programme for the care of patients in their homes. It aims to develop a fully equipped service to assist ALS sufferers at all stages of the disease through a mobile laboratory with all the necessary diagnostic equipment and software.
Last year's UEFA Monaco Charity Award went to streetfootballworld, a leading organisation in the field of development through football. The NGO invested the funds into the implementation of the Respect Your Health – Euroschools 2012 project, as part of the UEFA EURO 2012 Respect campaign, the official social-responsibility initiative for the tournament in Poland and Ukraine.
The campaign promoted healthy lifestyles by focusing on smoking prevention, responsible alcohol consumption, healthy diet and physical activity among young people and their families in the UEFA EURO 2012 host cities.
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