All posts by john felicetti

Gift of Life Names 2 New Members to the Board

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Gift of Life, a Rotary-sponsored charity, has appointed two members to the board during its June meeting: Lyn Roth-Jacobs and Ralph Scottino.

These Rotarians will help to direct the operations of Gift of Life in its lifesaving heart surgery operations for children from several foreign countries.

Roth-Jacobs served a previous term on the Board and serves on the Hosting Committee.  She has spent her professional career in education. Lyn has been an active member of the Rotary Club of the Pelham’s annual Tastings fundraiser for children with cardiac needs since its inception in 2005, and to date has hosted 4 GOL children with her husband Bill.

Scottino has been a member of the Bronx Rotary Club since 1996. He, along with partner Jack Epstein, own and operate Timpson Trading Corporation in the Bronx which specializes in scrap metal recycling. Ralph has been an active supporter of the Gift of Life program since 2007.

Second of three children from Kosovo undergoes successful life-saving surgery

On Monday, May 11th, 2 ½ year old Rexhep and his father Rasim from Kosovo arrived on schedule at JFK Airport. Initially they stayed with the grandparents of Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj in the Bronx until the Assemblyman returned from Albany.

RexhepThe support team (Lilyanna Pekic as interpreter, Rotarians Lyn Roth-Jacobs representing the host club of Pelham and District 7230 Gift of Life Chairman Bill Currie) went and met
with Dr. Giamelli later that afternoon. Rexhep has several issues with his heart and even though he is only 2 1/2 years old, those problems are starting to mount, which is why this surgery is so vital to him at this point.

On May 15th, Rexhep underwent successful surgery. Bill Currie picked up Lilyanna in the Bronx about 6AM and then headed over to meet Rexhep, his father Rasim and Mark Gjonaj’s mother, Roza to go to Maria Fareri Hospital in Valhalla. He went up for surgery just after 9AM and finished around 1:25PM. Dr. Giamelli said all went well, and added that it was good he had the surgery now since the walls of his heart are thickening due to the pressure on his heart. His prognosis is excellent for a good life.

Rexhep had a followup visit with Dr. Giamelli on May 21st. The surgeon was very pleased with Rexhep’s progress so far. He is a little concerned about the thick wall that surrounds the upper part of his heart, caused by the valve in the upper chamber of his heart not working properly. The valve is now operating well but the doctor would like to monitor the heart for another two weeks mostly to make sure he gets the proper care for his heart when he returns to Kosovo.

So, this sweet little boy will have another appointment with the doctor on June 3rd. The doctor said he is cleared to go home but just wants to watch the recovery progress for a little longer to that he get the right medication if needed and the proper care when he goes home.

Recently Completed Successful Medical Training Mission to Uganda

A joint medical team from the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington,DC, Heart Healers International and World Children’s Initiative recently teamed up with Ugandan healthcare professionals on a two week medical mission.  To read more about this amazing project and to learn about some of the children who received life-saving medical help, please click on the following link:

Rotary District 7230 raises over $17,000 for Gift of Life

Approximately 250 guests (with the occasional Elvis, James Dean, Fonzie and Cher look-a likes) enjoyed a fun and very entertaining 50’s and 60’s bash to support Rotary’s Gift of Life efforts.  The event was held on March 8th, 2015 at the Doubletree Hotel in Tarrytown, NY, complete with classic cars of the period.

The event honored Bea Castiglia-Catullo, Founder of R.A.I.N. and supporter of GOL and Georgene Mongarella, Immediate Past Chair Rotary District 7230 Gift of Life, Inc.  DJ Johnny Z from WFAS Radio serenaded the party-goers with favorite songs from the 50’s & 60’s.

To view the revelry, please click on the following link:

Save the Date! District GOL 50’s / 60’s Fundraiser is March 8th, 2015!

composite dancers lighter

The Board of Directors of Rotary District 7230 Gift of Life, Inc. invites you to a

50’s – 60’s rockin’ party to celebrate and support our Gift of Life Program.

Our Honorees for this event are

Bea Castiglia-Catullo, Founder of R.A.I.N. and supporter of GOL and

Georgene Mongarella, Immediate Past Chair Rotary District 7230 Gift of Life, Inc.

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Festive Attire (break out those poodle skirts or bell bottoms!)

Cocktail Reception at 4:00 pm

Dinner at 5:00 pm

Open Bar           Silent Auction

Comfort food from the 50’s & 60’s

Carving Stations, Dessert Bars and much more!

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Dance to your favorite songs from the 50’s & 60’s

with DJ Johnny Z from WFAS Radio

Early Bird discounts through February 15th


Click here for reservations and tickets!

4 Year Old GOL Patient Returns Home After Successful Heart Surgery

Four year old Erda, the District’s most recent Gift of Life recipient,  returned home to Kosovo on Sunday, January 11th after successful heart surgery.

Erda Aliu and her mother Mynevere arrived in New York on December 1st, and have been staying with the Rrasi family in Yonkers.   The Eastchester Rotary Club sponsored Erda’s surgery, which was performed at Westchester Medical Center’s Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital.

Many thanks to all involved with Erda’s care, especially the entire medical team at Maria Fareri, headed by cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Sett, the Rrasi host family and Bill Currie, Mike Fix and Rich Sullivan from the District GOL Board.

Currently, there are 2 additional children from Kosovo who have been accepted by Westchester Medical Center and are awaiting scheduling.