Legendary Cricket Star Sunil Gavaskar, well known around the world as an inspirational speaker, philanthropist, and the chairman of H2H Foundation has been on a Tour across the United States raising funds for Heart to Heart Foundation, which supports children with congenital heart diseases in India.
As a part of the fundraising tour, Gavaskar graced the home of Dr. Satheesh Kathula, an eminent Oncologist and the Vice President of AAPI. Several physicians and business leaders attended the fundraiser and they collectively raised $54,000, which supports 27 open heart surgeries.
“It was a memorable experience hosting the legend and raising funds for a great cause” Dr. Kathula said. “Mr. Gavaskar has really been spending his personal time and going one city to another to help children in need which is quite remarkable and commendable” he added. “He is one of the most humble people I have ever met” said Dr. Kathula. He thanked all the donors who made this possible with their generous contributions.
During the Meet & Greet event with Sunil Gavaskar, recipient of Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awards for his contributions to Indian cricket inspired the hearts and souls of participants by telling us how India remains the world capital for Congenital Heart Disease (CHD), with 300,000 children born each year.
Without medical/surgical care, over 25% of children die before their 1st birthday, contributing to over 10% of the Infant Mortality Rate and resulting in 250+ children dying every day; many more die in infancy or the preschool ages. Only a small fraction of children with CHD can afford the cardiac surgery, which can cost over $100,000 in the United States.
With frugal innovations in CHD care H2H Foundation has reduced the average cost of an open-heart surgery to only $2000$ per patient, which would otherwise be $75,000 to $125,000 in the United States and $5,000 to $9,000 in India. Gavaskar has personally sponsored 34 surgeries to match his 34 test centuries. The legendary cricket master is touring the United States to raise awareness and funds to support the cause.
Heart to Heart (H2H) Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving the lives of children born with CHD, by providing FREE pediatric cardiac surgeries in collaboration with the group of Sai Sanjeevini Hospitals in India. Since February 2014, these hospitals have also been providing primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare exclusively to children with CHD and over 10,000 surgeries have been performed free of cost. 10,000 is also the number of innings played by Gavaskar. Additionally, for every test century, he has scored he has personally funded the same number of surgeries.
Gavaskar was the keynote speaker at the recently concluded AAPI Convention in San Antonio, Gavaskar referred to his association with the “Heart to Heart Foundation” and how the Foundation is touching many hearts around the world. Gavaskar said “I really want to thank all the donors who opened their heart to help the children in need.”