At any given time there are an estimated 55 million children in the world in need of cardiac care.
While diagnosis and care of heart anomalies are routine here in the United States, the simple fact is that it is unavailable or inaccessible to children in developing countries.
That’s why a Uganda Rotary Club reached out to their peers in the Manhasset (Long Island, NY) Rotary Club in 1974, seeking assistance in saving the life of a child who required cardiac care not available in her home country.
Rotarians do what Rotarians always do, step up to the plate and find a way to get things done. The result was that 5-year old Grace Agwaaru was flown to NY, received life-saving surgery, and the concept of Gift of Life (GOL) was born.
Today, more than 17,000 children later, Gift of Life is a global initiative of Rotary International that seeks to make cardiac care available to all children. While children continue to be flown into the U.S. for their care, Gift of Life has increasingly been providing healthcare professionals in other countries with the training necessary to eventually perform the surgeries on their own children in their own country.