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The Rotary Gift of Life Florida program

February 5, 2014
Special to the Reporter ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

To the editor:

The Sanibel-Captiva Rotary would like to thank club Rotarian Chet Sadler for putting together such an amazing fundraising event for the Rotary Gift of Life Florida program held recently at the Harlem Heights Community Center, Fort Myers.

Almost ten thousand dollars was raised from this beautiful classical concert by internationally acclaimed, Italian concert pianist Francesco Attesti. He performs regularly in prestigious concert halls, but as a Rotarian will donate concert time to causes connected with Rotary. This concert was absolutely magnificent. As he played pieces by Bach, Schubert, Chopin, and Verdi the room filled with awe at how beautiful this music is and how beautifully Attesti played.

On the afternoon before the concert, Attesti spent some time with the children attending the Heights Community Center activity programs. He played for them, told them the history of the pieces he was playing, and encouraged them to love music. Attesti has a beautiful way of connecting with his audiences and this was the case as well with the children. He told them how he began practicing the piano at the age of 6 and gave his very first concert at 11. How wonderful it is to introduce classical music to a new generation?

Rotary Clubs and districts throughout the world that become aware of children in need of heart surgery will contact the Gift of Life program. These children have been identified by local physicians as suffering from congenital heart defects. Rotary helps children in two ways. First, we may arrange for them to be flown to the United States where a volunteer team of medical professionals performs the necessary life-saving surgery. Alternately, we may arrange for Gift of Life affiliated hospitals, medical centers and healthcare professionals throughout the world to treat them. To date, Gift of Life programs around the world have brought life-saving heart surgery to more than 16,000 children.

-Shirley Jewell

Sanibel Island



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