Gift of Life

Every once in a while, a Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club Friday morning meeting speaker has a conflict that makes it impossible for them to attend our meeting to present their topic. This past week, Stuart Spoede from FISH & WILDLIFE had one of those conflicts and he had to reschedule. Therefore, our new club President, Chris DeCosta had to do some magical thinking and pull a rabbit out of a hat to keep us Rotarians engaged for more than fifteen minutes. Of course, we always have about fifteen minutes of club rituals after breakfast, from introductions to happy bucks – sort of our own club laugh-therapy session – and then proceed with the business portion of the meeting.

Chet Sadler

Luckily, an important mission report from Gift of Life in Haiti had just come out, which gave Rotarian, Past Club President, Sanibel-Captiva Rotary’s RI Trust Foundation representative , Chet Sadler the opportunity to bring us up-to-date on the Gift of Life program as a whole. This program was designed to identify and qualify young children from impoverished areas of the world in need of heart surgery and provide this surgery here in the United States giving thousands of children the Gift of Life. Each of these surgeries cost between $5,000 to $10,000, even with doctors and other medical professionals donating their time and talent. Although this program was highly successful, it was evident that the cost of these life-saving surgeries and money spent to bring these children and their families to the United States could be better used if facilities and medical training for doctors and other medical professionals were available closer to areas in need where more children could be helped through Gift of Life.

The report for Haiti Gift of Life is an outstanding example. Rotary International encouraged Rotary Clubs to financially fund the Gift of Life mission at St. Damien Hospital, Haiti supporting 7 medical missions treating 76 children along with 1 screening mission in 2014, where an additional 91 children were evaluated and placed on a National Cardiac Waiting List.

Sanibel-Captiva Rotary proudly contributed to the funding of this project along with a dozen or more Rotary Clubs and these contributions were then graciously matched by Rotary International. Thanks also, for Rotary’s partnering organizations on the Gift of Life Haiti mission…OPEN HEARTS HAITI, HAITI CARDIAC ALLIANCE, and AKRON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL.