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Friday, April 10, 2009
Black and Blue all over: Saving lives

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

On Good Friday, David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune brings us the story of how Bears defensive end Adewale Ogunleye and defensive lineman Israel Idonije helped a Nigerian girl travel to the United States for life-saving heart surgery.

The two players were part of a goodwill trip last month to the African country, where Ogunleye's sister is a congresswoman. After hearing about the girl's plight, Ogunleye had his sister get in touch with the girl's family. After learning more about her situation, Ogunleye and Idonije paid for her flight to Austin, Texas, where surgery was scheduled.

An organization called Heart Gift in Austin organized and performed the surgery, according to the story.

Ogunleye: "We both wanted to be a part of helping them. We checked out the organization [in Texas] to make sure it was legit and just took one look at her little girl and it was a no-brainer. We did what anybody in our position would do."

Ogunleye, Idonije and Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris were three of seven NFL players on the trip, which was organized by Houston defensive tackle Amobi Okoye. Six doctors and seven nurses also participated to hold free medical clinics.

Continuing around the NFC North: