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.

Board of Directors

William P. Currie

William P. Currie

Insuance Administrator, Retired billpcurrie@giftoflifemetrony.org

Chairman 2014 – 2018
21 years serving on GOL Board, former Chairman of GOL International
Corporate Secretary of GOL International
--
“Gift of Life provides critically neede...Read More

William P. Currie

Insuance Administrator, Retired
William P. Currie

William P. Currie

Insuance Administrator, Retired

Chairman 2014 – 2018
21 years serving on GOL Board, former Chairman of GOL International
Corporate Secretary of GOL International
--
“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. Without our program, most of these children would not live long enough to reach adulthood.”

L. William “Bill” Fishman

L. William “Bill” Fishman

Lawyer bill@giftoflifemetrony.org

Corporate Secretary
GOL Board member since 2012
--
“Gift of Life’s mission is to save the lives of children with heart ailments who live in underprivileged countries outsi...Read More

L. William “Bill” Fishman

L. William “Bill” Fishman

Lawyer

Corporate Secretary
GOL Board member since 2012
--
“Gift of Life’s mission is to save the lives of children with heart ailments who live in underprivileged countries outside the United States; without GOL, they would did at a very young age. GOL’s efforts have literally saved the lives of over 30,000 kids in the past 30+ years and I feel extremely privileged to have the opportunity to play a small role in GOL’s life-saving efforts.”

Deborah Cooke

Deborah Cooke

Manager, Florist deborah@giftoflifemetrony.org

Treasurer
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”

Deborah Cooke

Manager, Florist
Deborah Cooke

Deborah Cooke

Manager, Florist

Treasurer
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”

Ed Birdie

Ed Birdie

Director, Community Affairs ed@giftoflifemetrony.org

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.

Ed Birdie

Director, Community Affairs
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.

Janet  DiBenedetto

Janet DiBenedetto

Special Education Teacher, Retired janet@giftoflifemetrony.org

GOL Board since 2013 & GOL International Board of Directors
Past District Governor of local Rotary District
--
“Gift of Life has given us the opportunity to save the lives of ...Read More

Janet DiBenedetto

Special Education Teacher, Retired
Janet  DiBenedetto

Janet DiBenedetto

Special Education Teacher, Retired

GOL Board since 2013 & GOL International Board of Directors
Past District Governor of local Rotary District
--
“Gift of Life has given us the opportunity to save the lives of children all over the world”

Michael P. Fix

Michael P. Fix

Financial Advisor michael@giftoflifemetrony.org

14 years serving on GOL Board
--
"Gift of Life gives us an opportunity to give back to our world by helping the children who, without our help, would not live to see adulthood."
...Read More

Michael P. Fix

Financial Advisor
Michael P. Fix

Michael P. Fix

Financial Advisor

14 years serving on GOL Board
--
"Gift of Life gives us an opportunity to give back to our world by helping the children who, without our help, would not live to see adulthood."

Helen Grishman

Helen Grishman

Attorney

GOL Board since 2016
--
“The opportunity to aid and observe the real life consequences of your efforts to aid the helpless children of the world, one child at a time.”

Helen Grishman

Attorney
Helen Grishman

Helen Grishman

Attorney

GOL Board since 2016
--
“The opportunity to aid and observe the real life consequences of your efforts to aid the helpless children of the world, one child at a time.”

Kazumi Hasegawa

Kazumi Hasegawa

Attorney kazumi@giftoflifemetrony.org

GOL Board since 2018
--
“Gift of Life saves children’s lives with heart disease and gives hopes for the brighter future for their families”

Kazumi Hasegawa

Attorney
Kazumi Hasegawa

Kazumi Hasegawa

Attorney

GOL Board since 2018
--
“Gift of Life saves children’s lives with heart disease and gives hopes for the brighter future for their families”

Timothy “Tim” Hodges

Timothy “Tim” Hodges

First Deputy Police Chief, Yonkers tim@giftoflifemetrony.org

New Board member as of 2018
--
“Gift of Life provides life where there otherwise wouldn’t be. Truly amazing endeavor”

Timothy “Tim” Hodges

First Deputy Police Chief, Yonkers
Timothy “Tim” Hodges

Timothy “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

Kevin Johnson

General Manager, Doubletree Hotel Tarrytown kjohnson@giftoflifemetrony.org

New Board Member as of 2018
--
"Gift of Life helps the children of the world that most needs our help"

Kevin Johnson

General Manager, Doubletree Hotel Tarrytown
Kevin Johnson

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"

John “JT” McFadden

John “JT” McFadden

Independent Businessman JT@giftoflifemetrony.org

Chairman – Gift of Life Metro NY
6 years serving on GOL Board
--
“Gift of Life is the Pediatric Heart Answer for children from emerging countries”

John “JT” McFadden

Independent Businessman
John “JT” McFadden

John “JT” McFadden

Independent Businessman

Chairman – Gift of Life Metro NY
6 years serving on GOL Board
--
“Gift of Life is the Pediatric Heart Answer for children from emerging countries”

Kevin Morgan

Kevin Morgan

Chief Criminal Investigator kmorgan@giftoflifemetrony.org

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.”

Kevin Morgan

Chief Criminal Investigator
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.”

Howard Penn

Howard Penn

Broker and Owner, Howard Penn howard@giftoflifemetrony.org

14 years serving on GOL Board
--
“GOL gives us the opportunity to save children’s lives, often one at a time. There can’t be a higher calling.”

Howard Penn

Broker and Owner, Howard Penn
Howard Penn

Howard Penn

Broker and Owner, Howard Penn

14 years serving on GOL Board
--
“GOL gives us the opportunity to save children’s lives, often one at a time. There can’t be a higher calling.”

Rob Raylman

Rob Raylman

CEO – Gift of Life International rob@giftoflifemetrony.org

6 years serving on GOL Board
--
“Gift of Life provides me the opportunity to give children with heart disease from emerging countries the hope for a healthy, bright future.”
...Read More

Rob Raylman

CEO – Gift of Life International
Rob Raylman

Rob Raylman

CEO – Gift of Life International

6 years serving on GOL Board
--
“Gift of Life provides me the opportunity to give children with heart disease from emerging countries the hope for a healthy, bright future.”

Ralph Scottino

Ralph Scottino

Bronx Rotary
Class: 2020

Ralph Scottino

Ralph Scottino

Bronx Rotary
Class: 2020

Richard Sullivan

Richard Sullivan

Con Edison, Manager Retired richard@giftoflifemetrony.org

5 years on GOL Board
--
“ 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...Read More

Richard Sullivan

Con Edison, Manager Retired
Richard Sullivan

Richard Sullivan

Con Edison, Manager Retired

5 years on GOL Board
--
“ 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.“