Ukraine Rotarians Visit New York

The President of the Odessa, Ukraine Rotary Club outlines the Gift of Life projects and the children saved by the Gift of Life / Rotary Project

Robby Donno, a frequent and always welcomed guest at the Rotary Club of New York outlines the Eastern European Gift of Life program.

One of the Cardio-Surgeons (front) from the Odessa Children's Hospital also outlines the Odessa Gift of Life Program via an interpreter .

10,000 operations over the last 20 years!

Robby Danno, one of the founders of "Gift of Life" program that was started at a Long Island Rotary Club in 1975 introduced the President of the Odessa Rotary Club. Increasingly, the "Gift of Life" is now performing needed heart surgery overseas since it is more cost effective. There are currently five hospitals in Columbia, five in the Philippines, seven in China, and 13 in India, that work with the Gift of Life program.Robby introduced a number of his guests, including Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Odessa, Ukraine. The president of the Odessa club gave an inspiring talk noting that more than eight hundred Russian children and four hundred Ukrainian children have received surgery through the Gift of Life / Rotary partnership. She also noted that her club has only 12 active members, and that there are about eight hundred Rotarians in the Ukraine.The cardio-surgeon at the Odessa Children's Hospital also addressed our club through a translator. She mentioned that it was appropriate to meet on New York's first warm Spring day because the Spring brings life, and so does the Gift of Life. She emphasized that, thanks to Rotary, more children in the Ukraine are now being operated on a regular basis. But there are still many more children waiting for surgery. Robby pointed out that while it cost on average $8,000 to $10,000 to save a child in this country, and about $2,000 overseas, there is no monetary equivalent that could replace that moment when a parent learns that their child is going to live a long and normal life. Past-president Bill also pointed out how Rotary is the envy of other humanitarian organizations because we have a network of Rotarians in 169 countries that are universally committed to contributing to making the world a more peaceful and healthy place.