GREENWICH, Conn. – Second Congregational Church raised $135,000 to benefit Heart Care International, a Greenwich-based nonprofit organization that provides life-saving heart care procedures for indigent children in underdeveloped countries, at its 13th annual Valentine’s Gala on Feb. 7.
The event brought 110 people together for singing, dancing, home cooking and fellowship. The gala featured a revue by the church’s Just for Men Chorus and a meal prepared and served by the Men’s Fellowship.
Heart Care International was founded by church member Dr. Robert Michler of Riverside, Conn., with church sponsorship, and is supported by many other church members. Providing pro bono surgical and medical care to children in developing countries, HCI has helped more than 1,800 children suffering from congenital heart disease and performed heart surgery on almost 1,000 more children in Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Peru. This year, the organization will launch a new mission to Chiapas, the poorest state in Mexico.
Michler, who serves as Heart Care International chairman, is an internationally renowned heart surgeon, author and lecturer. He is surgeon-in-chief at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, as well as chairman of surgery and chairman of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery.
“Our church has been so deeply blessed by its ongoing relationship with Heart Care International,” said the Rev. Maxwell Grant, the senior minister of Second Congregational Church.
“So many of our members, from all backgrounds and walks of life, have found a way to connect with Heart Care’s mission, have accompanied medical teams on trips all over the world and have returned permanently changed and inspired by the people they met and the things they saw. The line between ‘medicine’ and ‘miracle’ is hard to draw and Heart Care’s work is holy work, indeed. We love being able to support it through our Valentine’s Gala.”
HCI’s team will leave for Chiapas, Mexico, on Feb. 23 to examine more than 100 children and identify the most critically ill patients who will need surgery within the year.
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