Source:, Acron Beacon Journal Online/Google/Wikipedia

Akron:  Two boys from Haiti, 4 year old Elie Pierre  and 17 month old Kurtis Petion, have become the first patients to come to Children’s Hospital  in Akron, Ohio, for heart surgery through Gift of Life North East Ohio Inc., the local version of a program affiliated with Rotary International.  Gift of Life arranges for children around the globe who don’t have access to much-needed cardiac services to undergo heart surgery at a U.S. hospital.

Participating hospitals receive a token payment to provide heart surgery and all the necessary care.

Children’s Hospital agreed to accept $5,000 per child to fix Elie’s and Kurtis’ hearts — an amount that’s a fraction of the tens of thousands of dollars the hospital typically bills for such complex medical care.

Though routinely performed in the United States, the operations are impossible in Haiti, the western hemisphere’s poorest country, because the country lacks a pediatric cardiac surgeon.

“It’s readily fixable, it’s a one-time deal and you’ve given a life,” said Ken Fogle, chairman of Gift of Life North East Ohio. “It’s obviously good for the kids.”

The two boys from Haiti arrived in the US in April. 

Without surgeries to fix their heart defects, the boys would have faced certain death before adulthood.

Gift for Life was founded in 1992. Headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, Gift of Life is one of the public registries in th US with regard to bone marrow, blood stem cell and umbilical cord blood. Through its work, Gift of Life is a world leader in facilitating transplants for children and adults suffering from many life-threatening diseases, among them leukemia and lymphoma.