Breitling's Winds of Hope Charity Awards First Donation to Help Fight Noma

Apr 12, 2000, 01:00 ET from Breitling

    STAMFORD, Conn., April 12 /PRNewswire/ -- The Winds of Hope Foundation,
 established last year with the prize money from the successful Breitling
 Orbiter round-the-world balloon challenge, issued its first donation to the
 World Health Organization to help combat Noma, a deadly disease which is known
 as the "Face of Poverty."  Presented on the anniversary of Bertrand Piccard
 and Brian Jones' triumphant Breitling Orbiter landing, March 21, 1999, the
 $100,000 donation will support prevention of the disease and sustain primary
 health care for children in the battle against Noma.  A global campaign
 against this disfiguring and lethal disease was launched by The World Health
 Organization in 1994.
     The Swiss-based Winds of Hope Foundation was created by Piccard, Jones and
 Breitling SA with the cash prize received for being the first team to
 successfully circumnavigate the globe in a hot air balloon.  The sale of
 Breitling precision watches in the US and globally will help to contribute to
 the funding of this foundation.  The mission of Winds of Hope is to help fight
 diseases and forms of suffering that primarily affect children throughout the
 world, and that have largely been overlooked or forgotten.  Each year, on the
 anniversary of the Orbiter landing, the Winds of Hope Foundation will make a
 donation that meets this criteria.
     "We're pleased to support the World Health Organization's valiant efforts
 to prevent future generations from seeing this face of poverty," said Theodore
 Schneider, president of Breitling SA.  "Our company's long history with
 aeronautics and technology has not only allowed us to forge new frontiers in
 aviation, but has helped to put us in the position to support similar
 pioneering efforts in world health and medicine."
     The World Health Organization estimates that there are about 100,000
 children who contact Noma every year.  The disease flourishes where poverty is
 greatest and nutrition is poorest.  The African country of Sahel has one of
 the highest concentrations of the disease.
     Breitling SA is based in Grenchen, Switzerland; Breitling USA is based in
 Stamford, CT.  In operation since 1884, Breitling is known for its precision
 chronographs, and has a long history with the aviation world, where accuracy
 and reliability are paramount.  Thus, Breitling chronographs are known as
 instruments for professionals.
     NOMA:  Noma, also known as cancrum oris, is a dangerous condition that
 starts in the mouth as benign oral lesion, and rapidly destroys both soft and
 hard tissues of the mouth and face.  Most Noma sufferers are under six years
 of age.  While the case-fatality rate is high, survivors are disfigured for
 life, and will likely not be able to eat, speak and breathe normally.  The
 victims are often rejected by their communities as they are viewed as living
 proof of an evil curse on their family and the entire village.

SOURCE Breitling