PDG John D. Rydzik, Ed.D:  hone 716-648-3690, Email
Valerie Phillips,  Board President: Email
Pat Castiglia, PhD:  Board Vice-President :phone 716-508-8245, email
Original club sponsor:  Rotary Club of Hamburg Sunrise

Gift of Life (GOL) was started under the leadership of PDG John Rydzik in1993.  This humanitarian project provides lifesaving open-heart surgery for children ages infancy to 21 years of age who were born with congenital heart defects.  The program is available to all children regardless of race, color, or national origin. The focus is on children from underdeveloped and underserved countries where facilities for conducting required surgeries are non- existent.

Rotary clubs in 164 countries provide lists of the names of children requiring surgery.  Medical teams review the medical records of these children and determine the children with operable conditions.  In the past, names of children were sent to sponsoring clubs, I.e. clubs that would donate the required $5000 for the surgery for that particular child. The cost is so reasonable because the pediatric cardiac surgeons, the pediatric anesthetists, and the pediatric intensive care nurses, all donate their time and expertise.

The international board of GOL consists of 17 members.  Approximately 10 years ago, the board decided to establish a sustainability and community empowerment plan that involved establishing pediatric cardiac centers in areas closer to the areas of need.   At present, two such centers are fully operational one in El Salvatore and one in Uganda.  Four others are being developed. Developing these centers involves developing the physical requirements including operating rooms and intensive care units as well as training the local medical professionals.  This is accomplished through additional funding by sponsors and continued voluntary teaching by specialized professionals.  The cost per child is $5000 per sponsor and additional monies raised are used for the new centers.

The Gift of Life, Inc. of Rotary District 7090 is a “not for profit” corporation in the U.S. (501C3) and is a registered “ Charitable Organization” in Canada. All funds collected go to meet program goals with a minimal amount for
organizational expenses.