White Plains Rotary Club
Sponsors Georgian Child's
By White Plains Times
Publication: November 8, 2007
The White Plains Rotary Club is one of many participating in the Gift of
Life program, which was started in 1975 by the Manhasset, NY Rotary Club.
Gift of Life International has helped nearly 10,000 children in 70 countries
by giving free medical care to children suffering from heart disease and
similar maladies. The organization facilitates matching the child in need
with the medical care.
Goderdzi Ergemlidz, 15, lives in a one-room mud hut with his parents and
two brothers in the country of Georgia. They have no running water and only
one electrical outlet. Goderdzi was diagnosed with a fatal heart condition
that would have been corrected at birth if he were born in the U.S. His
family are corn farmers, have no health insurance and no means to pay for
the expensive surgery. The White Plains Rotary Club raised $6,000 to sponsor
the boy’s operation.
On Sept. 20, Goderdzi received his surgery at Maria Fareri Children’s
Hospital, a Gift of Life participating hospital. Dr. Paul K. Woolf,
associate director of pediatric cardiology, performed the surgery. The
hospital and the doctor donated their services. The funds that had been
raised paid for the operating room, anesthesiologist, medication and use of
the recovery room.
His surgery having been successful, Goderdzi returned to Georgia on Oct.
12. Other than an annual checkup, he is a healthy and growing teenager.
Georgene Mongarella, a White Plains Rotarian, organized the program. “We
were able to make a difference in a child’s life,” she said.
Gift of Life International, Inc. is a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation.
Its primary purpose is to help needy children receive corrective heart
surgery at Gift of Life Participating Hospitals. The program reaches
youngsters throughout the world, including the United States. To learn more
about Gift of Life and how to make a donation, visit
The Rotary Club of White Plains hosts many fundraising events throughout
the year to support local and international causes such as Gift of Life. The
Club meets every Tuesday at 12:15 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza in White Plains.