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03 May 2013

Paralympic athlete announced as Mercy Ships ambassador

Paralympic athlete announced as Mercy Ships ambassador

British Paralympic visually-impaired athlete, Anna Sharkey, has become Mercy Ships' newest ambassador. Anna, a goalball champion who competed in the London 2012 Paralympic Games alongside her brother Michael, is passionate about supporting the work of Mercy Ships to help the poor.

Anna pledged her support to the charity after hearing about the amazing work of the thousands of volunteers who staff the ship every year, providing free medical care and humanitarian aid to the people of West Africa, including children blinded from birth with cataracts.

More than 400 volunteers crew the Africa Mercy ship, providing free medical care and humanitarian aid in the poorest countries in Africa and can treat up to 7,000 patients on the ship each year. Currently on a 10-month outreach in Guinea, the ship will head to Congo-Brazzaville later this year.

Anna Sharkey - ParalympicsAnna says: “I am honoured to be an ambassador for Mercy Ships and raise awareness on all the amazing work they do helping the world’s forgotten poor. Mercy Ships offers hope and healing to so many of the world’s underprivileged and I feel very fortunate to have become a part of that.”

Judy Polkinhorn, executive director of Mercy Ships UK, said: "We are absolutely delighted that Anna has agreed to become an ambassador for Mercy Ships UK. She was such an inspiration during the 2012 Paralympic Games and we are thrilled that she is now part of Mercy Ships. I'm confident that she will be influential in the continued growth of the charity."

The Africa Mercy ship was converted from a Danish rail ferry into a state-of-the-art hospital ship, with six operating theatres, X-ray facilities and CT scanner, a pharmacy and a laboratory. There is capacity for 78 in-patients with four wards and a small intensive care unit, as well as accommodation for 450 volunteers.

Founded in 1978, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than £630 million, helping in excess of two million people. The international charity has treated more than 520,000 people in village medical and dental clinics, performed more than 56,000 surgeries and completed more than 1,000 community development projects focusing on water and sanitation, education, infrastructure development and agriculture.

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