2
Jun

Brazilian soccer club’s organ donor campaign makes amazing impact

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You really don’t have to do much to help save a life - all it takes is signing up to be an organ donor.

That’s exactly what Brazilian soccer club SC Recife has urged its fans to do for the past two years, and the impact their campaign has already made is nothing short of amazing.

According to the BBC, 66,000 fans have signed up for SC Recife’s special “Sport Donor” card, which can easily be obtained online. As a result, Recife — Brazil’s fifth largest city — has seen its waiting list for organs reduced to almost zero, and the influence can be felt all over the state of Pernambuco.

From the BBC:

"We used to perform from five to seven heart transplants a year, but last year we achieved 28… it was an incredible increase," says Fernando Figueira, director of heart transplants at Pernambuco’s Institute of Integrated Medicine.

"There is a very tight connection between the campaign and this rise."

A television ad titled “Immortal Fans,” which is also played before each of Recife’s home games at the Ilha do Retiro stadium, spearheads the effort. In the spot, supporters in need of transplants advocate for the cause by drawing on their mutual love for the club.

"I promise that your eyes will keep on watching Sport Club Recife," says one fan in need of new corneas.

"I promise that your heart will keep on beating for Sport Club Recife," says another, who requires a heart transplant.

The success of the campaign has been noticed around the world, and Sport Recife has even been contacted by Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona. The two clubs are thinking about adopting similar campaigns, according to Jorge Peixoto Peixoto, the Recife’s vice president for social programs.

H/T Deadspin

24
Jun

Trecker’s Brazil Travels: Games, protests take time off

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Photo: Jamie Trecker/FOX Soccer

By: Jamie Trecker, FOXSoccer.com

 BOA VIAGEM, BRAZIL

It’s the Festa de Sao Joao this weekend here on the Brazilian coast. Up and down the miles of beachfront, people are setting off fireworks, lighting bonfires, roasting various meats and generally being silly.

The Festa de Sao Joao is nominally a religious holiday. In Portugal, the Feast of Saint John is a major occasion on the calendar; apparently the same day stops traffic in Goa, India. Here, it is a mid-winter party also called the “festa junina,” which translates exactly to what you think it does. Up here, it is a two-week carnival – it rivals Carnival in importance in the state of Pernambuco – and it is celebrated with country festivals and large outdoor concerts. People also dress up in a simulacrum of “country” attire, which in the cases I’ve seen, means wearing hats with fake pigtails and penciling on freckles.

While there may be some religion involved here this weekend (and I am perhaps the wrong correspondent to ask about such matters) what I have seen is go-for-it, hoedown partying. Saturday, horse-drawn carts carrying stacks of firewood came into the center of Recife’s beach neighborhoods, and dumped cords right onto the sidewalk. Some of them remained there, to be set alight after sunset. It’s a bit jarring to walk by a blaze on a sidewalk, especially when it’s right outside a welding supply store, but that’s apparently all cool this weekend. They did look festive.

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22
Jun

Trecker’s Brazilian Travels: Unknown Utopia

Photo: Jamie Trecker/FOX Soccer

By Jamie Trecker, FOXSoccer.com

OLINDA, BRAZIL

The gunship flew low over the beach, heading north to Recife’s Derby Square. The protests would soon start, blocking the bridges in this city and snarling traffic to and from the set of interconnected islands.

Recife is a strange city. For two blocks along the coastline, you could be in Miami or Santa Monica, albeit with far fewer strip malls. But walk a block further inland, and you are in the favelas. Crossing the Avenue Domingos Ferreira puts you into a different city altogether. Here, the streets are unpaved, there are no windows on the cinderblock shanties, and laundry flaps from the telephone lines. There is sewage in the street, and the residents collect rainwater to wash in.

The city makes its money on tourism and textiles, and lately, it hasn’t been doing much of either. The beaches here, from Pina to Boa Viagem and beyond, have been virtually empty. The vendors who patrol up and down the sands have found few takers for the buckets of shrimp on their shoulders. The umbrella chairs were empty, and there was but one set of players on the vast tennis courts that stretch up and down the boardwalk. The beach soccer field was flooded, a product of the prior week’s rains.

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