Gift of Life Children’s Heart Surgery Program
Congenital heart diseases are the number one birth defects in China. Congenital heart diseases are conditions existing when a child is born or develop during the first months of life.
History of Project
In 1974 the Manhasset, New York, Rotary Club responded to a request for help from the Kampala Rotary Club in Uganda, bringing five-year old Grace Agwaru on a 5,000 mile journey from Uganda to Roslyn, New York. On 15 November 1974 she underwent a very successful open-heart surgery at St. Francis Hospital, Roslyn, New York. The idea for the Gift of Life Program (GOL) grew out of helping Grace.
Established formally in 1975, the Gift of Life Program is today a worldwide Rotary International Service Program. Its primary purpose is to help less privileged children who require corrective heart operations to secure another lease on life through open-heart surgery in Gift of Life Participating Hospitals.
What began as a simple response to help one small girl from a faraway land has today burgeoned into a dynamic worldwide movement. It involves not only thousands of Rotarians and their families but countless people from other community-based service organizations. Since 1974, following Grace Agwaru’s operation, all those involved have been united in the primary objective of giving life: to some 5,000 children from many countries.
GOL in China
In China, the Rotary Club of Shanghai in conjunction with our partners has helped arrange life-saving open heart surgery for more than 400 Chinese children with congenital heart disease.
Under the Gift of Life Program, we have also provided training for Chinese medical professionals in the United States through study and exchange programs. Our club works with The Shanghai Charity Foundation to ensure that this life-saving program is continued.
We partner with several hospitals in China to identify children in need of the surgery and to provide safe surgery and post operative care. Below is the list of hospitals the Rotary Club of Shanghai currently works with
Shanghai Chest Hospital
Suzhou Kowloon Hospital
Wuxi People‘s Hospital #1
Kunming Children Hospital
Lanzhou Military Hospital
Wuhan Asia Heart Hospital
Henan HongDa Cardiovascular Hospital
Sichuan University HuaXi No. 2 Hospital
The GOL project is very rewarding experience. Our GOL team is always looking for new people interested in helping with this project. Areas of experience that are needed include building awareness of the project, visiting children, helping raise funds, and working with the hospitals. To hear from some of the parents of GOL patients and to more about our project, view our GOL video.