Many of our Rotary clubs have a long-standing commitment to give kids with congenital heart defects a second chance . . .a Gift of Life. In celebration of The Rotary Foundation’s Centennial, the D-7980 Rotary Clubs of Bridgeport, Newtown and Orange (CT) are committed to providing 300 children with lifesaving corrective cardiac procedures in India, Philippines, the Dominican Republic and Haiti by means of three separate Global Grants and a total investment of $409,700.
Rotary Clubs of Santo Domingo (D-4060) and Orange partnered with Gift of Life International, International Children’s Heart Foundation (ICHF), and other Dominican Rotary clubs and organizations to secure a Global Grant in the amount of $269,700. Their goal is to provide 100 cardiac corrective procedures for Dominican and Haitian kids while training the local staff in the pre and post-operative care, surgical and interventional cardiac catheterization techniques, as well as equipment maintenance. Four VTT trips are scheduled during 2017. Our VTT team includes surgeons, anesthesiologists, OR nurses, respiratory therapists, intensivists, cardiologists and more.
The first VTT mission took place in February. A team of Rotarian and non-Rotarian medical professionals from eight countries were paired with their Dominican counterparts. The Rotarian team leader was Lynda Hammond, RC Orange, and the non-Rotarian medical team leader was Dr. Rodrigo Soto, from Chile. Eleven open-heart procedures and 13 interventional cardiac catheterizations were performed with all kids doing well upon departure of the team. Three more trips to the Dominican Republic are planned over the next year.
Note: One of the volunteers, Dr. Daniel Garros (shown here), a pediatric ICU Intensivist, was an Ambassadorial Scholar in 1992. He was sponsored by the Rotary Club North (Brazil) in District 4670 to advance his training in pediatric critical care. He studied in Winnipeg, MB, a city that he now calls home.
After the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, CT , when 20 children and six teachers lost their lives, the Rotary Clubs of Bridgeport and Newtown promised to save 26 lives through Gift of Life. They accomplished that in 2013, and now in 2016-17 they have partnered again to save 100 additional lives in Cochin, India (D-3201). Jatin Mehta, a Bridgeport RC member and originally from Mumbai, has been instrumental in annually doing one or more Global Grants in his home country .
The Newtown Rotary Club will also be partnering with the Cebu RC in the Philippines, in conjunction with their Rotary Community Corp to perform 100 life-saving surgeries for children under age 8 this year. Most of the surgeries will be performed in Cebu, but the most complicated will be transferred to Manila. The Cebu Rotary Community Corps not only facilitates logistics and hosts patients’ families, it also raises funds through a series of sports-related events including a family fun runs.