LONDON — IAG Cargo, the single business created following the merger of British Airways World Cargo and Iberia Cargo, has announced that it has freighted a donation of wheelchairs from Swiss Paralympic champion Heinz Frei to Mpanshya Hospital in Zambia. The wheelchairs will provide better mobility for patients and orphans in and around the hospital.
The wheelchairs were flown from Zurich, Switzerland to Lusaka, Zambia. IAG Cargo worked with a trucking partner to collect and deliver the wheelchairs to Zurich Airport, and a forwarding agency which took care of the documentation, customs clearance, packaging and issuance of an Airway bill at no cost. IAG Cargo’s ground handling agent sponsored the security checks and also handled the wheelchairs free of charge as a gesture of goodwill and support for the cause.
Heinz Frei, a world champion Swiss Paralympian made the donation after he became aware his friend, Ms Gabi Thönen, a former employee at Mpanshya Hospital and founder of the association, Friends of Mpanshya Hospital, regularly makes donations to the hospital and is responsible for persuading Swiss families to sponsor orphans in Zambia.
Gabi Thönen, founder of Friends of Mpanshya Hospital Zambia said: “It’s great that IAG Cargo and Heinz Frei made this possible as these wheelchairs will make the difference to the lives of those in need at Mpanshya Hospital. As IAG Cargo has strong links between Europe and Zambia, my foundation can easily send any additional donations which will extend our charitable work in these regions.”
Urs Gabriel, area customer service manager Austria, Switzerland & East Europe at IAG Cargo said: “We wanted to make the transport of the wheelchairs from Switzerland to Zambia as simple and cost effective as possible for Gabi to support her cause. Thanks to our global network and capacity serving Africa, and in particular Zambia, it was possible to safely transport these wheelchairs to Mpanshya Hospital.”
Heinz Frei is a unique athlete, having competed in both Summer and Winter Paralympic Games as a wheelchair athlete and as a cross-country sit-skier in a career spanning more than 25 years. Frei is the current world record holder in the 10,000 metres, half-marathon and full-marathon wheelchair races and is a five time European champion as well as a 15-time Paralympic champion, winning his most recent gold medal at London 2012.