Story and photos by Stephen Stamos,the editor of The Governor’s Newsletter
At Dinner, Gift of Life Celebrates 64 Surgeries in 2016, and 1,172 Since the Program’s Inception in 1987.
In a Celebration dinner last month, Rotary District 7490’s Gift of Life Foundation reported that it sponsored 64 cardiac surgeries over the last 12 months.
One of these surgeries was performed at The Valley Hospital in March, 2016 on an adult patient, Ma Luisa Lacson Genio of the Philippines. During the program, Jennifer Padolina, the Foundation’s co-Chairwoman, read a letter of gratitude from Ms. Lacson Genio, who wrote of how she was preparing her young son, then 6-years old, for her possible death in the realization that without her surgery, she would die.
Since the inception of the District’s Gift of Life Foundation,Dave said, it has sponsored 1,172 cardiac surgeries including the 64 of this past year. Two hospitals in New Jersey and one in New York, Dave said, participated in the program, with surgeries being performed at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Paterson, The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood and Westchester Medical Center Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, N.Y.
In brief remarks at the dinner, District Governor Stephen V. Jarahian spoke of his “Rotary Moment” when in 1988 the Bergenfield-Dumont Rotary Club of which he is a member sponsored the cardiac surgery of a little girl from Poland. In a letter included in the dinner’s journal. Governor Steve expanded on that moment, writing of the girl’s first visit to the club, accompanied by Past District Governor Arthur M. Scialla, who had introduced the Gift of Life to District 7940 while serving as its Governor.
Writing of the girl, Magdalena Korzcak, Governor Steve said that “she was very lethargic. Lips slightly blue. Her mother was under a lot of stress.” On the girl’s return visit to the club two weeks later he wrote the girl was “running around the room. Laughing and full of energy.” That is when, Governor Steve wrote “the bell went off in my head! Look at what we have done!”
During the dinner, Sophia Stone, a member of the Paramus Sunrise Club, was presented with the Gift of Life Foundation’s highest award – the John D. Hartman Memorial Award – named in honor of Mr. Hartman, who served as the District’s 32nd Governor in 1988 – 1989. The award is presented to the one person “who has demonstrated outstanding service in the interest of saving children’s lives through the Gift of Life.”
Photo caption: Sophie Stone of the Paramus Sunrise Rotary Club received the Gift of Life Foundation’s highest honor – the John D. Hartman Memorial Award, named for the 32nd Governor of District 7490, who served in 1988 – 1989. Flanking Sophie are the two co-chairs of the Gift of Life Foundation: Jennifer Padolina on her left and David Whitlock
on her right. The award is given to the person “who has demonstrated outstanding service in the interest of saving children’s lives through the Gift of Life.”