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May 29, 2008

Florida Rotarians help Gift of Life

Story PictureToday was a big day for the Rotary Club of Belize and hundreds of children they have helped through their Gift of Life programme. That’s because today Gift of Life International Director, Lou Auricchio and Belize Rotary Club President, Sandra Bedran signed an agreement that ensures the continued support of the lifesaving service.

Yvette Burkes, Director, Gift of Life Prog.
“The money that’s the matching grant, which will turn out to be a total of seventy-five thousand U.S. dollars, is money that we’re putting in some, a thousand U.S. to be exact, the different clubs up in that district are going to put up some and then the district will give a lump sum and then the full amount is going to be matched by Rotary Foundation. The money will be received and managed in Florida and they are going to be giving approximately five thousand U.S. dollars to the hospital. Whoever is doing the surgery at any given time, the doctors are doing it for free and that is going to be just a fraction and a very small fraction of the cost of one of the surgeries that these children will receive. The average surgery will usually run about fifty to a hundred thousand dollars.”

Gary Israel, District Gov., District 6960 Rotary, Southwest Florida
“We try to do something like this at each District Conference whether it relates to literacy or health or better understanding of people.”

Marion Ali
“With Belize or …”

Gary Israel
“We have a good exchange of Gift of Life children that need corrective heart surgeries and we’ve done probably twelve or fifteen from the Belize area in our district. We had the distribution of some wheel chairs today from the Wheelchair Foundation and we try to have a Christmas in May for the children, the Gift of Life children here with seven hundred toys and toothbrushes and a lot of things that maybe we take for granted back home.”

Rotary is hoping to assist at least fifteen children this year through the Gift of Life programme. For Muriel Gillett, whose nine year old daughter Renola underwent heart surgery in November of 2006, the organisation’s work is a godsend.

Muriel Gillett, mother of Heart Patient
“She couldn’t play, she couldn’t talk good. Like ih never had the oxygen fi bring up di words. Ih get tired even if ih talk. Ih used to get blue and ih used to bleed through ih nose lot and thing. But now since ih geh ih surgery ih noh gah dehn problem and ih go da school, ih come home, ih no complain no way hurt ah. No pain, nothing, just aspirin.”

Marion Ali
“And she’ll have a normal future the doctors say?”

Muriel Gillett
“Yeah, ih wah normal afterwards because I could see dat ih di get back. Ih hundred percent betta dan before because things weh ih do ih neva used to do.”

Marion Ali
“And you appreciate the programme.’

Muriel Gillett
“Yes, me thank Rotary and Lions and everybody who help me fi mek she gone da Florida gone get ih operation.

During today’s event, the Florida Rotary Clubs also presented a cheque for three thousand three hundred U.S. dollars to administrators at the Dorothy Menzies Child Care Centre to purchase school uniforms and shoes for the home’s residents.

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