2 children benefit from free heart surgery

ConGen de Leon with Ashlee Mae and her mother

Pampanga tot Ashlee Mae Tan is currently recovering from heart surgery at the Montefiore Children’s Hospital in the Bronx.

She is one of two Filipino children who are beneficiaries of the Gift of Life Program of Rotary International. The other is 9-year-old Godwin Gabriel Pena, also from Pampanga, who is scheduled to have his surgery shortly after Ashlee Mae also at Montefiore.

The Gift of Life Program helps facilitate complicated and expensive heart surgeries for needy children in the U.S. and in developing countries. It has benefited more than 12,000 children from 68 countries. In the Philippines, nearly 200 children with life-threatening heart ailments have been assisted through the program.

Ashlee turned 10 months old on the day Consul General Mario L. De Leon, Jr. visited her at Montefiore in September. The visit was arranged by Lou del Rosario, vice-chair of the Gift of Life Program.

“She endured a delicate operation performed by some of the best surgeons of Montefiore Children’s Hospital,” said a statement issued by the Consulate.

Montefiore is one of three participating hospitals in the program. The others New York hospitals are St. Francis in Roslyn and Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.

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