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Rotary Happenings: The Mission of Gift of Life International, Inc. introduced to Rotary

By Staff | Feb 24, 2016

The Sanibel-Captiva Rotarians were spellbound by our speaker for the morning Saturday, Jan. 5.

We welcomed Rotarian, James Graham from Brownsburg, Indiana to talk to us about his involvement and personal experience with Rotary’s “Gift of Life” program.

His presentation was titled “Legacy of Qudrat”.

“THE GIFT OF LIFE” PROGRAM is a worldwide Rotary International Service Program.

Its primary purpose is to help those needy children who require corrective heart surgery secure another lease on life through the miracle of open-heart surgery in a Gift of Life participating hospital.

The Mission of Gift of Life International, Inc. is to further the cause of world peace and understanding by facilitating free medical services to children suffering from heart disease and other similar or allied diseases, regardless of race, gender, creed or national origin, and who would otherwise lack access to such services.

San-Cap Rotary has been involved in Rotary itself but not in a direct way more in providing monetary support for the program.

The surgeries required repairing a hole in Qudrat’s heart and correct a more serious congenital heart defect called transposition of the great vessels in which the vessels are reversed causing not enough oxygen to flow from the heart to the rest of the body.

The surgeries were successful. His recovery was magical; Qudrat’s little body was healing and he blossomed.

Medical staff, Rotarians, National Guardsmen all grew extremely attached to Qudrat, especially James and his wife Roberta.

Speaking through an interpreter and standing side by side in Qudrat’s hospital room the two fathers, Hakim and James, found an amazing connection.

So close were the families that the Grahams referred to themselves as Qudrat’s American grandparents. The hospital recovery went well but a complication arose after surgery, one of the staff at the hospital had come down with a communicable disease.

Qudrat was released from the hospital, for a three-week medical quarantine stay at the Cameron’s home.

After being in James and Roberta life for four-months, it was time for Qudrat and his father to return home. This little child, this little angel was flying home after his medical all-clear.

Unfortunately the story doesn’t end on that happy note. Qudrat died 24 hours after arriving back home, cause unknown.

Everyone connected to this “Gift of Life” tragedy mourned. But Qudrat’s dad didn’t let that sorrowful time define the future for himself or his family, he wanted to payback in some way the extreme kindness shown to Qudrat by “Gift of Life” and the people who had extended themselves to save his child.

The experience changed him forever. His American Rotary families, the National Guard, and especially Jim and Roberta Cameron were in his heart.

He had observed the hospital staff and the gender equality within the hospital setting and outside the hospital. Women could read and write. Women were educated; they worked shoulder to shoulder with men, and attended meetings as equals with men.

He knew what he would do now. First he would bring all of his five children together again and then he would travel to Pakistan to study medicine, using some of the $13,000 in a fund collected for the family in the States.

Part 2 “Legacy of Qudrat” will be in next week’s Rotary Happenings.

Sanibel-Captiva Rotary meets at 7:00 a.m., Friday mornings at the Dunes Golf & Tennis Club, Sanibel.

Guests are always welcomed.

Sanibel-Captiva Rotary

33rd Annual Fair a success

THANK ALL OF YOU that attended this year’s 33rd annual Sanibel-Captiva Rotary’s Fair.

We have so many amazing Rotarians and friends of Rotary to thank and we will be doing that publicly very soon but we can never say thank you enough to the following: Scot Congress-Fair Chairman; Robert Monk-Past, Present and Always Fair Guru; Chet Sadler-Art & Craft Juried Selection Committee Chair /Artist and Craftsmen Wrangler, Charlie Emerson-Advertising Sales/Tab; Jack Alexander-Volunteer Coordinator; Roger Thrifshauser-Silent Auction; Dick Waterhouse-Logistics; John Danner-Treasurer; Bill Rahe-Signage; Sunrise Rotary Club-Fort Myers- Parking Crew.

Special Thanks to our Fair Sponsors: Congress Jewelers, John Grey Painting, Royal Shell Vacations, Sanibel Captiva Trust Company, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, and Sunny 106.3, and all of our advertisers, FGCU ART LAB-Blue Ribbon Committee/Juried Show Awards, Billy Kirkland and his tractor service, John Grey Painting-ladder detail and let’s not forget our fabulous Artists and Artisans.