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Save A Child’s Heart
Vasu Reddy from Chicago
Being a child is to be free. Being a child is to have fun. Being a kid is to learn. Being a child is to make mischief. Being is a child is to run around and play. Being a child requires a strong heart so it can handle the excitement of everyday learning, play, fun and excitement. Can you imagine the little heart needing surgery? Children whenever and wherever they are full of promise, full of energy, full of hope and full of life. They bring joy and happiness to all around them by simply being a Child.
As a kid I never stopped to think, I just did things. I wanted to learn, read, play, jump and I know I was full of mischief. I think I only got away from serious trouble, because I made up by doing well in school. Being grown up I still want to be a kid as if I were a kid I need not worry about my day to day hopes and anticipations. My heart today probably needs cure in more than one way and probably behaves well enough to get to the next day, but when I was a kid it was always racing. I can’t imagine if my heart would have withheld the excitement of what I did, if it was not fully fit. I was no different than any other kid, and needed a fully functional heart to keep me from being a kid, as does every other kid in the world today.
When I heard of Save A Child’s Heart (“SACH”) I was immediate to work on the cause. This program and any such programs are touching both the children and their hearts. What more can one program accomplish? I was also pleased to learn that the newspapers in India and some of the Internet media are already publishing the information.
It Works to Promote Good Causes
The newspaper Deccan Chronicle in India and Apollo have teamed up in promoting SACH as Dil Se, and project has great response from readers whose contributions in the form of checks, cash and US dollars has swelled to Rupees 65,38,324.70 between October 7 and November 23, 2004. With Rupees 65 lakhs, the Dil Se project can operate approximately 260 children. As on November 23, 2004, the doctors of Apollo Hospitals have operated 59 children ailing with heart ailments. Still there are 265 children who have to undergo surgeries out of the identified 525 children. Apollo Hospitals and Deccan Chronicle thank the generous support of the readers. But, please keep in mind that there are 265 more children who need your help.
The program has excellent medical and pediatric support from Apollo Hospitals. Its holiday time for all of us, and great time for tax planning and giving. It must be incredible to repair hearts and be a part of such wonderful program. The tile of the program Save A Child’s Heart more than conveys the goal of SACH.
Question and Answers on SACH
To request specific information on SACH, I sent the request to Apollo and Dr. Hari Prasad from Hyderabad responded very quickly. I received the responses on November 23, 2004.
Who conceived the idea of SACH?
Visit with Preetha Reddy in Chicago
Ms. Reddy is the Managing Director of Apollo Hospitals in Chennai, India. She was visiting Chicago and was gracious to meet with me on 30th November 2004 morning to discuss SACH. She lives in Chennai. We had a wonderful chat on India, Apollo programs on SACH, Cure Foundation and other areas where Apollo has taken initiatives to help the underprivileged, while providing world-class healthcare to its patients. She is very engaging and was genuinely interested in our plan to promote SACH. Some of her comments from the discussion:
Question: What is the program expansion plan from Hyderabad to other cities in India?
Response: We are scaling it up. We want to do it in Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Calcutta, Delhi, Madras and Madurai. Madurai and Madras have already done some work on the program, and it is not significant to talk about this at this point of time. It has been done with individual donations from people living in India or in the US.
Question: Are you getting assistance from physicians coming from the US or outside of India?
Response: No. We haven’t gotten them involved yet. We did start the program, as it hurt us to see so many children with congenital heart disease. From our own database we think there about 300,000 children suffering in the Southern India. So any intervention with this would help. We also looked at economically deprived families. A lot of these children are girls. Almost 70% of them are girls. So we started off to provide assistance and the program has been growing to support the children.
Question: How involved is Dr. Pratap Reddy with this program?
Response: It is his idea. He feels it is our social responsibility. We have done so well, and we feel that we have to take care of this aspect of society. That’s why he built a hospital in his village. It was family and we built this beautiful hospital in his village. It doesn’t do cardiac surgeries, but is linked by telemedicine. The children are screened in the village, and they come to Hyderabad for surgeries.
Question: Are you coordinating with US based organizations to make it easy for people to contribute to SACH? Also, providing a vehicle to use Christmas time for giving along with the tax deductions to non-for-profits.
Response: It program is too new to setup an entity in the US. To be honest we never thought of setting up a US entity that might also help with tax breaks. I need to get some advise on how to do this effectively. Last year what happened is people just sent checks to India, and how the tax implications impacted I am not sure. We need to think about how we best work with US based organizations to help with the program. We will discuss with our advisors and work towards setting up the program.
Message to our readers from Preetha Reddy:
“I think it is our responsibility to take care of such tings back home. Because here in the US state and government will look after its people who need help and in India we don’t have a public assistance sort of program in place and that’s why individuals have to contribute to care for others as every little bit goes a long way. 25,000 Indian Rupees will do it for each surgery, which is what about 500 US dollars. Few hundred dollars will take care of one child. Even ten dollars is fine. We will take anything. The cause is important.”
India is enormous in every aspect of its dimensions: people, size, issues, politics and issues. India’s children are its future and those little Indian hearts are precious. SACH and other initiatives to help children is another great effort by our community to show their great heart. While developing my story, I was told people we giving small donation of ten rupees or one hundred rupees and these generous people were rickshaw pullers or laborer. Please send this information to as many people as possible, and speak of it. I take great pleasure in simply writing about it. I am sure my friends, my family, my readers and myself will have the heart to be generous with our time and wallets to SACH. These kids need fully functioning hearts to be joyful.
Many thanks to Dr. Hari Prasad of Apollo, Hyderabad for responding to my questions, and to my brother Nagesh Devapatla from Chicago for helping me with the introductions and information.
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