Trio of simulator golf tournaments set for this winter

Robot GolferFollowing the success of last winter’s initial “Simulator Spring Fling” virtual golf tournament, we are expanding the fundraising project to three events this time around.

We have contracted with the Burden Lake Country Club for December 13, January 31 and March 7 dates, each of which will have separate themes and promotion. Thanks to Murray Forth and Terry Brewer for putting this undertaking together once again, and Bill Dowd again will be designing the promotion flyers.

For those unfamiliar with the effort, Burden Lake has a trio of golf simulators that allow golfers the chance to shake off cabin fever and compete for prizes. The simulators provide different courses and have the advantage of no lost balls, mosquitoes and other annoyances.

Proceeds from the events will go to the club treasury as well as to Gift of Life and Ronald McDonald House.

In addition to asking all members to help publicize the trio of events, we will be asking for volunteers to help staff them so all the effort does not fall to two or three people.


Please join us to meet Danny on September 4

DannyWe have scheduled a very special club meeting on Thursday, September 4, to welcome a very special guest.

Danny Sarmiento, the 5-year-old Honduran child who recently had lifesaving cardiac surgery at Albany Med through the auspices of Gift of Life and our club’s financial support, is being scheduled to spend the evening with us. He’ll be accompanied by his mother, Maria, and their interpreter.

We originally had been scheduled to take off that week, but because of Danny’s schedule we’ll be back at Quigley’s a week earlier than planned.

Please make a point of planning to attend — and bring a guest– to welcome this courageous young man who SRC supported by raising $11,000.

Our GOL child scheduled to arrive on Aug. 12

Danny Sarmiento
Danny Sarmiento

Danny Ezequiel Jimenez Sarmiento, our Gift of Life child, is scheduled to arrive from Honduras at 11 P.M. next Tuesday (August 12) via Delta flight 1515, along with his mother, Maria, and an interpreter, Karla.

Since the Southern Rensselaer County club is underwriting the $10,000 cost of Danny’s travel and cardiac surgery, it would be great if as many club members as possible would show up to welcome him at Albany International Airport.

According to Dr. Melissa Ehlers, “Danny has a pediatric cardiology appointment on Wednesday, August 13, at 2:30 p.m., and then we are hoping to have his operation performed on Tuesday, August 19.

“If everything goes as planned, he should be able to attend the Gift of Life golf tournament on September 11, and, if you so desire, maybe attend one of the Southern Rensselaer Rotary meetings as well.”

We do so desire, so we’ll work with Melissa on settimg that iup.

Once again thanks to those SRC members who made personal financial pledges to help us reach our goal of supporting Danny, as well as providing an additional $1,000 to “prime the pump” for GOL’s next child medical project.

Meet Danny, our Gift of Life child from Honduras

Mom comforting Danny.
Mom comforting Danny.

Danny Ezequiel Jimenez Sarmiento is a 6-year-old Honduran boy who was born with a medical condition known as Tetralogy of Fallot.

It is a condition that restricts the supply of oxygen to his body, rendering him exhausted most of the time, and creates a cyanotic condition that turns his lips and nails blue from lack of oxygen. (Go here then scroll down for more  details.)

District 7190 Gift of Life (GOL) hopes to correct that condition in late August or early September when Danny is brought to the Capital Region for cardiac surgery at Albany Medical Center thanks to a $11,000 donation from the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club.

Danny and parents.
Danny and his parents.

Danny lives with his eight-year-old sister, Katy, and their parents in a rented one-room, concrete-block house in Honduras. Dad is a mason, mom is a housewife and mother.

In announcing the recipient, the board of Gift of Life 7190 said it “would like to commend the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club for the tremendous accomplishment of raising the necessary funds to sponsor this child  — plus a little bit extra for the next child.”

The Gift of Life’s annual golf and bocce tournament, a major fundraiser for ongoing medical work, is scheduled for Thursday, September 11. They hope to have Danny there as a special guest. Details to come.

Screen shot 2014-06-20 at 12.04.51 PMArrow points to Danny’s homeland.

‘Our’ Gift of Life child coming from Honduras

GOL board members pose with a BIG donation (thanks to Murray Forth for the blow-up); Left to right: Rich Hodge, X, Tom Burdick, Melissa Ehlers, Bill Nathan.
7190 Gift of Life board members pose with a BIG donation. Left to right: Rich Hodge, Ellen Strait, President Tom Burdick, Melissa Ehlers, Bill Nathan.
President April hands 7190 Gift of Life President Tom Burdick the club's real check for $11,000 at Thursday's dinner meeting.
President April Dowd hands Tom Burdick the club’s real check for $11,000 at Thursday’s dinner meeting as Ellen Strait looks on approvingly.

Danny Ezequiel Jimenez Sarmiento, will arrive in the Capital Region in late August or early September, thanks to a donation to the District 7190 Gift of Life from the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club.

Six-year-old Danny suffers from a condition called Tetralogy of Fallot. It is a congenital heart defect classically understood to involve four anatomical abnormalities of the heart (although only three of them are always present). It is the most common cyanotic heart defect, and the most common cause of Blue Baby Syndrome.

“Unfortunately,” reports Dr. Melissa Ehlers, GOL board member, “we don’t have a picture of him at the moment, but I have already e-mailed to ask them for a pic ASAP and will forward that to everyone once I get it.”

Danny’s care will be underwritten by the $11,000 raised through donations from 16 members of the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club. A formal check presentation was made to a contingent of GOL board members last Thursday.

Tetralogy of Fallot was first formally described in 1672 by Niels Stensen, a Danish Catholic bishop and scientist and a pioneer in both anatomy and geology; then, in 1773 by Edward Sandifort, a Dutch physician and anatomist, and in 1888 by the French physician Étienne-Louis Arthur Fallot, after whom it is named.

[From Stanford Children's Health]
From Stanford Children’s Health

We topped our $10,000 Gift of Life fundraising goal!

We went over the $10,000 goal
We topped our $10,000 goal

Once again, the generosity of the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club has pushed us over the top — well before deadline — for our latest major philanthropic endeavor.

On March 1, club member Terry Brewer challenged the club to raise $10,000 to underwrite a Gift of Life cardiac surgical session for a child to be brought from his or her home country to Albany Medical Center for the treatment.

That came after Dr. Melissa Ehlers, a GOL board member, addressed our club on the topic of medical missions to the Caribbean and lifesaving cardiac work done by GOL at Albany Medical Center.

As she wrote in The Toolbox, the District’s e-newsletter, “Numerous questions were asked, but the most significant one was “What is the most important thing that you need to continue this work? ‘MONEY’ was the blunt answer. Within the next 90 seconds, 5 members of the club pledged to donate $1,000 each and then they pledged to canvas their other members to come up with the remaining $5,000 in order to sponsor their own Third World child for life-saving heart surgery at Albany Medical Center.

“I was awed by the generosity of this club and am truly thankful that we have such wonderful people who want to make a difference not just locally but around the world as well. (Just another day for a Rotarian, I suppose.)”

Earlier in this Rotary Year, the club’s members donated $10,000 to the ShelterBox program to purchase 10 boxes of disaster relief, particularly for people in the typhoon-ravaged Philippines.

All this came in addition to smaller, targeted fundraisers such as funding and/or food/clothing/etc. for autism programs, Ronald McDonald House, equine therapy programs, a trio of food pantries, the family aid organizations Circles of Mercy and Unity House, high school senior scholarships and so on.

Can we raise $2,800 in the next 9 days?

$7,200 raised so far.
$7,200 raised so far.

We’ve done it before, and we can do it again.

“It” in this case is our drive to raise a $10,000 grant by June 1 for District 7190 Gift of Life to underwrite the costs of life-saving surgery at Albany Medical Center for a third-world child.

As of today, we have raised $7,200, meaning we need to come up with just $2,800 to achieve the goal.

If you already have pledged your financial support, thank you! If you plan to contribute, please do so as soon as possible. If you are not in a position to make a large donation, small ones add up.

Be sure all checks are made payable to SRC ROTARY CLUB. Murray Forth then will tote up the contributions and write a $10,000 check and a list of contributors to Gift of Life.