The Rotarian-sponsored charity Gift of Life, Inc., celebrated its 20th year with a gala, doubling its previous fundraising totals and honoring outstanding individuals for their contribution to saving lives of children with heart problems.
Gift of Life Chairperson of the Board Georgene Mongarella hosted the event, and Executive Director Rob Raylman served as master of ceremonies, before being named a humanitarian award winner at the Greentree Country Club in New Rochelle.
The Gift of Life helps Albanian children with severely damaged hearts who are not expected to survive, and brings them to this country with their mothers. They are hosted by Rotary Clubs until they are ready for the life-saving cardiac procedure that Gift of Life has established with surgeons at Montefiore and Westchester Medical Center.
Among the honorees of the evening were former Congressman Joseph Dioguardi, honored for his service to the Albanian community; Albana Krasniqi, humanitarian award winner, who identifies children in need of cardiac help in Kosovo; and Dr. Mazllum Belegu, who helps children with successful treatment before and after the cardiac surgery.
“The evening was joyous and profitable for this singular charity,” said Mongarella. “It earned significantly more than the prior year and the attendance increased.” Gift of Life, Inc., continues to help cardiacdamaged children from many countries around the world, from Uganda to Belize, from Jamaica to Haiti, to El Salvador.