Pope writes emotional letter to Zanardi, praise for providing "lesson in humanity"
Pope Francis has written to former Formula 1 driver Alex Zanardi, sending him his thoughts and prayers, and thanking him for providing a "lesson in humanity".
Zanardi is currently in an induced coma at Siena's Santa Maria alle Scotte University Hospital following neuro and maxillofacial surgery on Friday as a result of a collision with a heavy vehicle while competing in a hand-cycling race in Italy.
The hospital confirmed on Wednesday [June 24] that the 53-year-old Italian remains in a serious but stable condition, and that now no new updates will be provided unless his situation alters.
Prior to this latest horrific accident, Zanardi's story is an enduring and enlightening one as for almost 20 years he has overcome disability after losing his legs in a CART crash at the Lausitzring in 2001.
Since then, Zanardi has forged himself a successful career as a para-athlete, winning four gold medals and two silvers across the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, along with numerous world titles.
Addressing Zanardi's situation, via a handwritten letter printed in Gazzetta dello Sport, Pope Francis wrote: “Dear Alessandro, your story is an example of how to be able to start again after a sudden stop.
“Through sport, you have taught us how to live life to the full, making disability a lesson in humanity.
“Thank you for giving strength to those who had lost it. At this painful time, I am close to you, I pray for you and your family. May the Lord bless you and Our Lady guard you. Fraternally."
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