Congressman Faleomavaega today offered his congratulations to Seiuli Jesse Sapolu on the recent publication of his book “I Gave My Heart to San Francisco”. The book was published by Celebrity Publishing, and describes the life of Seiuli Jesse Sapolu from his birth in Apia, Samoa in 1961, growing up as a Samoan, his battle with a life threatening heart condition, to his illustrious career with the San Francisco 49ers,” Faleomavaega said.
“Seiuli Jesse Sapolu is the son of missionaries, his parents were both ministers and his dad attended the Malua Theological College in the Independent State of Samoa. Both his parents served as missionaries in Papua New Guinea and helped introduce Christianity to the Papuans.”
“He was drafted in the eleventh round of the 1983 NFL draft and was the last pick of the 49ers. Despite being the last pick, he worked hard to become a key player in the San Francisco 49er Super Bowl Champion teams. He played his entire 15 year-career with the 49ers and was selected to two Pro Bowls. He is the only Samoan NFL player to win 4 Super Bowl,” Faleomavaega continued.
“Since finishing his 15 year-career with the 49ers, he has dedicated his life to helping the Samoan youth by hosting and participating in football camps and other programs that help mentor Samoan youth. I have had the privilege of working with Jesse at football camps like the recent Polynesian All American Classic held last month in California. I have seen firsthand the dedication and commitment that Jesse has to helping the Samoan community.”
“Jesse is the symbol of perseverance, as a child he suffered from acute rheumatic fever a disease that afflicts children between the ages of 6 and 15. He developed an enlarged heart as a result of the rheumatic fever. Despite his painful heart condition, he played his entire NFL career with an enlarged heart, until the damage became so severe that he needed surgery after his 14th season. To prove to kids that it is possible to play in the NFL after open-heart surgery, he returned for a 15th season with the 49ers. The heart condition he suffers from is preventable and he is working to educate people about rheumatic fever to prevent children from developing the disease.”
“Jesse is a true Samoan warrior in every sense of the word, in terms of his endurance and perseverance to overcome life obstacles. Despite the adversity he faced, he continued to work hard to succeed and he serves an example for all Samoans.”
“I congratulate Jesse on his legendary NFL career and the publication of his new book “I Gave My Heart to San Francisco,” Faleomavaega concluded.