Gift of Life Metro New York >> About Us

Mission Statement

Gift of Life is committed to providing hope to children from developing countries with heart disease, regardless of their gender, creed, or national origin, by supporting autonomous GOL programs in an effort to care for these children in need and to coordinate the development of sustainable pediatric cardiac surgery, catheterization and aftercare programs in select countries through the empowerment of local healthcare professionals.

Our History

1975

First Gift of Life Child Treated

The first Gift of Life child was treated in 1975 in the NY area, in response to a plea from a Rotary Club in Uganda. From there it slowly expanded to other districts of Rotary in the US.

1994

Metro New York Chapter Founded

The Metro NY Chapter was founded in 1994 in Rotary District 7230 (Westchester County, Manhattan and the Bronx) when Dan Nalvan, a licensed pilot was asked to help a child travel to Rochester, New York for heart surgery through the Gift of Life program. Dan learned more about how this program helped children to live a normal life, a life that would be impossible in their home country due to inadequate medical care. Later that year, the first child was brought to Westchester for surgery from Uganda.

2003

Gift of Life International Founded

Gift of Life International was formed in 2003 and now includes 81 Gift of Life programs, 241 Rotary Clubs and 52 Rotary Districts around the world

Since Inception

Since 1975, over 30,000 Children Treated

Over 2,000 children are now being helped each year through our global network. Since 1975, over 30,000 children with heart disease from 79 countries have been treated.

The Metro NY Chapter has directly helped 125 young people with heart saving surgeries and we want to do MORE.

Each Year

Every Year 1.3 million Children Born with Heart Defect

Every year 1.3 million children are born with a congenital heart defect and 93% are born in a country that has no capacity to help them

What We Do

Surgeries in the NY area – We work with other Gift of Life programs on five continents in order to provide care to children. Children who come to New York for assistance are often recommended by participating programs or other medical teams who examine the children near where they live. Often parents themselves research the internet looking to help their children. The program in the home country helps to coordinate transportation to the US, obtain passports and visas and assure that the child and parent have round trip travel to New York. The Gift of Life program handles all activity from the time the family arrives in New York until they leave. Most families stay between 4 and 6 weeks, stay with a host family that volunteers to provide room, meals and a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. All travel to medical appointments, medication and incidental expenses are covered by the Gift of Life.

Mission Trips – Gift of Life also participates in medical training and screening missions to several countries. In effect, this brings the medical care to the child rather than bringing the child to the US. In a screening mission, a team of medical professionals including doctors, surgeons and nurses will visit the country for a week or more, evaluate a number of children and treat as many as possible either through non-interventional means or surgical procedures. Complex cases are referred to participating hospitals here in the US or other programs around the world. A training mission is similar except that in addition to the team treating the children, they also work with local medical professionals to train them in the latest procedures and practices.

Watch our Success Stories for updates of more mission trips planned for 2022 and 2023 including 100 new life changing procedures for children from Lebanon.

Board of Directors

Officers

J.T McFadden

Chairperson

J.T McFadden

Independent Businessman
6 years serving on GOL Board

“Gift of Life is the Pediatric Heart Answer for children from emerging countries”

Tim Hodges

Vice Chairperson

Tim Hodges

First Deputy Police Chief, Yonkers
New Board member as of 2018

“Gift of Life provides life where there otherwise wouldn’t be. Truly amazing endeavor”

Kevin Johnson

Secretary

Kevin Johnson

General Manager, Doubletree Hotel Tarrytown
New Board Member as of 2018

“Gift of Life helps the children of the world that most needs our help”

Peg Caniff

Special Assistant

Peg Caniff

Special Assistant

Deborah Cooke

Treasurer

Deborah Cooke

Manager, Florist
14 years serving on GOL Board

“Working with GOL is a wonderful thing – to see children who have had the procedure now lead a happy and fulfilling life”

Michael P. Fix

Historian

Michael P. Fix

Historian

Members

Ed Birdie

Ed Birdie

Director, Community Affairs
14 years on GOL Board

Gift of Life provides the opportunity to help children and make the world a better place to live and to foster world peace and understanding.

Pete Christie

Pete Christie

John Farrelly

John Farrelly

Mike Fisher

Mike Fisher

Linda Morgan Schiavone

Linda Morgan Schiavone

Steve Simpson

Steve Simpson

Emeritus

William P. Currie

William P. Currie

Insurance Administrator, Retired
Chairman 2014 – 2018

“Gift of Life provides critically needed pediatric cardiac care to the more than 90% of the world’s children without access to this type of care.”

Kevin Morgan

Kevin Morgan

Chief Criminal Investigator
8 years on GOL Board

“GOL allows us to offer care and treatment to children who may never have the opportunity in their own country.”

Richard Sullivan

Richard Sullivan

Con Edison, Manager Retired

“ As a former open heart patient, GOL gives me the insight and opportunity to help these little children get started to living a normal and healthy life.“