THE Rotary Club of Cebu (RCC) together with the Gift of Life International (GLI) and Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) initiated programs that aim to save lives of children suffering from complex congenital heart diseases.
The Gift of Life Program and Vocational Training Team (VTT) also empower medical experts in pediatric-cardiac field. These programs were started by the RCC (the second-oldest Rotary Club in the country), GLI and VSMMC in June 2018.
Patients do not have to go to Manila or abroad for medical intervention as the VTT medical professional volunteers arrived in Cebu to train VSMMC staff.
The volunteers, including surgeon Michelle Rohan of Rotary Club of Morristown in New Jersey, USA have various expertise in pediatric cardiac surgery. Aside from surgeons, the other volunteers were anesthesiologists, scrub nurses, intensive care unit nurses and doctors and cardiologists.
One of the patients was Frances Kate Mengote, 16. She was diagnosed with ventricular septal defect, or a hole in her heart, after her birth.
Her family flew with her all the way from Antique province, Western Visayas to Cebu to have her operation at the VSMMC.
Mengote’s mother Estrella said a cardiologist told her that an operation cost P700,000.
“We don’t have that amount,” she said.
A friend, whose son was among the VTT beneficiaries, told Estrella to seek help.
“We came here and asked for help. Luckily, she was chosen to be one of the beneficiaries. Now, she’s recovering after the surgery. Thank God and VTT,” Estrella said.
RCC president-nominee Dr. Edward S. Gaisano said that they were able to help more patients with the help of their partners.
“We started this project 10 years ago, but it was a difficult one because we raised so much funds yet we can only support a few patients because of the cost involved,” he said.
The RCC and GLI have acquired a global grant from the Rotary International. Their next mission is scheduled this December 2019. MARYMIL CABRERA