Contact information:
Tim Milligan
(941) 704-0776



Click here for Hi Rez image of Lixi Johana Ramirez Ascencio























“...there are over 1,000 children on the waiting list...”

















Gift of Life International is based upon the network of Rotary Clubs...















...saved the lives of over 11,500 children...


Gift of Life - Our Hearts Are in El Salvadore
Press Kit

• Lixi Johana Ramirez Ascencio
• Born – November 11th 2007
• Family of 8 – Total family income $3.00 per day
• Condition – Congenital Heart Disease
• Needs – Cardiac surgery not available in El Salvador
• Sponsor – The Rotary Club of Bradenton through Gift of Life & Music for Heart
• Donation of Services – All Childrens Hospital of St. Petersburg, Surgeons and the Staff of All Childrens Hospital

See video - Gift of Life, Music for Heart program in El Slavador

The Need – Our Hearts Are In El Salvador

The Network of Rotary – Connections

Gift of Life International – A History

The Need – Our Hearts Are In El Salvador:

El Salvador is located in Central America between Guatemala and Honduras, bordering the Northern Pacific Ocean. Over 40% of its people live in remote rural regions, with roughly the same number living on less than US $2 per day. One of its major health concerns is heart disease.

Like all developing countries, El Salvador's children suffer from a significant incidence of congenital heart defects. Causes contributing to this dire situation are primarily the lack of pre-natal care, poor nutrition, lack of access to healthcare and substandard living conditions.

Congenital heart disease is the number one birth defect afflicting children around the world today. According to the World Heart Foundation: (1) over 90% of the world's population, over 4.5 billion people, do not have access to cardiac care; (2) 10 out of every 1,000 newborns suffer from some form of congenital heart defect; and (3) at any given time there are 5.5 million children worldwide in need of heart surgery.

Due to the fact that its population is exceptionally young, the above referenced statistics are even more daunting in El Salvador. More than 50% of its population is less than 15 years of age. The tragedy is that children born with congenital heart defects in El Salvador are sentenced to a life of severe health challenges. In many cases these children never live past the age of 10 and those that do live longer live a life of suffering and despair.

Currently, there are over 1,000 children on the waiting list for a cardiac intervention that will save their lives. Every year this number increases by 600 children. The health care system in El Salvador is limited in its ability to care for these children leaving many of them to perish untreated.
The world wide network of Rotary International Clubs and Gift of Life International, have been working for over two decades to help as many El Salvadorian children as possible, concentrating their efforts on caring for the many children of El Salvador who are in desperate need of life-saving heart surgery.

Collectively, Gift of Life International affiliated programs have been responsible for saving the lives of 350 El Salvadorian children. Although a foundation has been laid, there is much more work to be done to help the children in this country.

The ultimate goal of the 'Our Hearts are in El Salvador' program is to develop a sustainable pediatric cardiac surgical and follow up care program in El Salvadore.

The Network of Rotary – Connections:

Gift of Life International is based upon the network of Rotary Clubs and Districts which spans the world.

Rotary International is the world's first service club organization, with more than 1.2 million members in 33,000 clubs worldwide. Rotary club members are volunteers who work locally, regionally, and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training, promote peace, and eradicate polio under the motto Service Above Self.

The family of Rotary extends beyond individual Rotarians and Rotary clubs to include other service-minded people who help with the organization's work. Groups such as Rotaract, Interact, and Rotary Community Corps serve side by side with sponsor clubs, using their diverse skills to improve the quality of life in their communities.

The Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:

• The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;
• High ethical standards in business and professions, the recognition of
the worthiness of all useful occupations, and the dignifying of each Rotarian's occupation as an opportunity to serve society;
• The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian's personal,
business, and community life;
• The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace
through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

Gift of Life International – A History:

Gift of Life (GOL) began as a Rotary Club project in Manhasset, New York back in 1975. Robbie Donno proposed to his club that they bring a 5-year old Ugandan girl to the United States for open heart surgery. This surgery was not available in Uganda and without it she would perish. That single act of kindness over thirty years ago has grown into a worldwide movement that now embodies itself in over 60 programs throughout the world. These programs have treated children from 65 countries and six continents.

In 2003, Gift of Life International (GOLI) was created to support and coordinate the efforts of GOL programs throughout the world. Over the years, GOLI has focused on four basic principles:

• To increase the capacity of existing GOL programs to help children in need
• To promote the initiation of new GOL programs
• To develop partnerships with other non-governmental organizations (NGO's) in order to reach as many children in need as possible, and
• To tell the collective story of GOL programs worldwide.

Over the past 34 years, GOL programs around the world have saved the lives of over 11,500 children. While this is a significant accomplishment, our family of Rotarians, volunteers and healthcare professionals know that there is a need to help many more children. It is in this light that GOLI has set an aggressive goal of saving the lives of 30,000 children over the next decade. This will necessitate an increase in the number of children we identify, transport, treat, help recuperate and return home healthy by 2,000 each year! We base the strategy for achieving this goal on these three principles:

• Develop sustainable pediatric cardiac care programs in countries which currently do not have them
• Create reliable funding sources
• Increase the global awareness of GOL

In order to meet our goal, GOLI has instituted a program that embodies the above noted principles. The program is called "Our Hearts Are In ...." Each year GOLI will select a country upon which to focus the global network of GOL.

This effort will highlight the strengths of our organization while publicizing the needs of a specific country and its children. The residual effect will be to strengthen the cohesiveness of our organization, foster a feeling of community, and make people aware of the suffering throughout the world and show them that they can make a difference if they involve themselves. And it will increase the potential of our network to save the lives of more children than ever before.