Rtn. Ravi Bhooplapur from New York, USA who is also the Chairman of the Gift of Life India, took up the cause of children with congenital heart defects.

Congenital heart disease refers to a problem with the heart's structure and function due to abnormal heart development before birth. Congenital means present at birth. Congenital heartdisease (CHD) can describe a number of different problems affecting the heart. It is the most common type of birth defect. Congenital heart disease is responsible for more deaths in the first year of life than any other birth defects. Many of these defects need to be followed carefully. Some heal over time, others will require treatment.


In India, congenital heart disease is often a death sentence for children. But this situation is changing slowly due to the intervention of Rotary all over India.The 'Gift of Life' programme aims to give a new lease of life to children, especially from the underprivileged sections of the society. Rtn. Ravi Bhooplapur from New York, USA who is also the Chairman of the Gift of Life India, took up the cause of children with congenital heart defects. He encouraged Rotary Clubs in India to bring children with heart defects to reputed hospitals in big cities and have them operated by experts. Rotary Club of Coimbatore Sai City along with RC Coimbatore East and Midtown started the Gift of Life project with a contribution of US $2,500 and got a matching grant of US $5,000. From saving the heart of a child from Uganda in 2002 Rotary Club of Coimbatore Sai City has completed 501 heart surgeries for children till 2010. With six matching grants totaling to US $4,10,000 and support from other philanthropic organisations in Coimbatore, the club has taken the service to new levels of excellence. The club now aims to complete 1,000 heart surgeries by 2016. When I participated in the function on February 8, 2011 at Coimbatore which was organised to celebrate Rotary's initiative in completing 501 heart surgeries, I was happy to see hundreds of children who had been operated upon and their parents. The parents had come from far-flung areas with their children. They were all thankful to Rotary that their child was alive today. 


The passage of time from 2002 also saw Rtn. Ravi Bhooplapur blossom into a District Governor of 7250 and now as the PDG he continues to provide support to the project. It is said that people forget how fast you did a job, but they remember how well you did it. PDG Ravi Bhooplapur has excelled in Rotary service. As Aristotle said, "Excellence is not built overnight; it is built day by day.We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act but a habit." This is PDG Ravi Bhooplapur's habit and he believes that excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.

The work of the Rotarians in Coimbatore has not just given a fresh lease of life to children. It has made their parents believe that when fate closes one door, Rotary opens another. They have wiped the tears from the eyes of 500 families. Every child has thousands of thoughts, fears, likes and even dreams.

Adults cannot always understand what is going on inside the mind of a child because they cannot express their desires and fears.The Rotary Foundation has been lending a hand and enabling Rotarians to share their resources, sow the seeds of love and reach within to embrace humanity by supporting all such noble causes. Rotary clubs which may need district grants for such projects can be assisted with grants from other districts which may have some unutilised money. I welcome enquiries for assistance.

The Gift of Life programme has helped Rotary clubs in building families which would otherwise might have lost a child and sulked in despair. The initial fears about the success of the programme could have been exaggerated. But Rotarians are persistent people. They begin their success where others end infailure. Rotarians know that TRF is the heart of Rotary International and when over 1.2 million hearts of Rotarians beat every day a child is saved every minute some where in the world.