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Gift of Life fundraiser brings help to sick children

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GREENFIELD — Continuing to build on well over $400,000 to help provide life-saving surgeries and medical care for kids who otherwise would not receive it, Greenfield’s Rotary clubs will join the Gift of Life for the 15th year.

Greenfield’s Rotary and Sunrise Rotary will hold their annual Gift of Life dinner and auction fundraiser Saturday at the Washington Life Center in Indianapolis, and organizers are expecting a full house.

“We had 250 tickets, and we’ve already sold in excess of that,” said Rotarian Willie McKinney. “We’re making the tables larger to get the people in.”

The Gift of Life program was founded in 1974 by a Manhasset, N.Y., Rotary Club with Central Indiana Rotarians joining the effort in 1998. Since that time, more than $450,000 has been raised here to help more than 249 children from Russia to Haiti, according to the club’s literature.

The Gift of Life program involves a two-pronged approach to save the world’s kids one child at a time, either by bringing children to the United States for treatment or sending medical teams overseas to work there.

Last year, Greenfield’s district helped send a Riley Children’s Hospital heart team led by Dr. Mark Turrentine to Amman, Jordan, to perform several surgeries on two occasions.

 Program funds also support training trips to Kampala North in Uganda, where U.S. teams travel to train local health-care providers in cardiac procedures and care.

 Those attending Saturday’s event will have the opportunity to bid on a large selection of items, from travel packages to Venice, Fla., and Mexico to VIP concert ticket packs for shows by Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts and Chicago.

  For those with a more practical bent who wish to contribute, packages featuring LASIK surgery and orthodontic care will be available during the live auction.

   “We’re very pleased,” Rotarian Susanna Combs said about this year’s auction lineup. “We hope people will be generous, come out and bid well.

In addition to dinner and the auctions, entertainment will be provided by Gordon “The Roadmaster” Brooks, a Greenfield-Central High School alumnus who studied music at Ball State University, the Naval School of Music and Baldwin Wallace College.

For those unable to attend Saturday’s events, cash donations can be made payable to the World Community Service Foundation with a memo entry “Gift of Life” sent to Greenfield Rotary at P.O. Box 1, Greenfield, IN 46140.

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