Kids Hearts Need You!

Gift of Life Of Rotary International District 7490





      Andrew j. Topp, co-chairman         raymond r. Hough, co-chairman

      (201) 410-0155                                     (201) 390-4053



November 29, 2009

Guidelines for the Host Family

                 Welcome to Rotary District 7490 Gift of Life Program.  You are joining a dynamic worldwide community of Rotarian and non-Rotarian families, dedicated to the service of assisting the children of the world who are in need of corrective heart surgery.  With your kindness and contribution GOL is making a lasting and loving impact on families throughout the world.  We will soon reach 700 in the number of children who now are living healthy normal lives because of our District program.

                 This gift of service begins when the child with or without family arrives at the airport.  A GOL Hospital Coordinator or your Club Coordinator will accompany you to pick up the family. Please bring a sign showing a heart and a welcome. Only a few people should meet the family at this time.  The child may be over exhausted from travel.  It is however appropriate to begin taking pictures to share at a later date.  Most children stay with the family for 3 - 6 weeks.  However, each child is different and has different health situations.  The stay may be shorter, or may be considerably longer.

                 Once at home, the child will need to rest quietly.  It is helpful to keep a quiet atmosphere in the household.  Visitors should be kept to a minimum during this initial period.  The family will most likely want to call home.  The guest family is in a strange land at a very stressful time in their life.  The phone might seem like a lifeline to them.  Keeping the natural family abreast of all developments is helpful to all concerned.  However, keep in mind the expense of calling and set up a reasonable time for routine calls.

Whatever hospital is assigned to do the surgery, emergency medical service is available 24 hours a day at St. Joseph’s Hospital.    The host family should not hesitate to call for assistance at any time. Work through your Hospital Coordinator and Club Coordinator. Advise the physician of any updated information available including the name and phone number of the hospital and/or physician the child has been assigned to.  The medical staff is the best source of instruction for care of the child.  If in doubt – Contact your hospital coordinator if you have any questions. Contact the Gift Of Life Committee Chairman if you need any special service. We have dentistS, pharmacistS and others that volunteer their services.  PLEASE ASK! 

Care of the child and support for her/his family is a 7 day 24 hour responsibility.  This is a Club project and the host family should let other members know when help is needed.  Private time for the host family is important.  Situations may occur where the host family has other obligations and they should not hesitate to ask other club members to “visit” with the guest family. Keep in mind that this is a Rotary Club project and all members should share the chores involved.

            When checking in at the hospital, make sure that you specify that all billing is done to the Gift of Life program of District 7490.   (Montefiore Hospital may need to know that it is channeled through the “Rachel Cooper Foundation”)   They may ask for your phone number and address for contact information but please ask that they do not use it as a billing address.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call your gift of life contact on any phone number provided at any time. 

Communication between the medical staff, patient and family is extremely important.  A translator, who is comfortable conversing with the physicians (usually an adult) should accompany the family on all hospital visits.  The host club should make arrangements with one or more persons to do this service.  The GOL committee has a list of translators available and will assist with scheduling.  We encourage you to reach out to your local community in finding translators.  Often our program will be their first introduction to Rotary and may interest them to join a club.

The Rotary GOL hospital coordinator will arrange for the initial hospital visit.  The child will have a physical examination, Heart catheterization, and depending on the outcome, may be admitted the same day.  Emotional support from the host family is most important at this time.  Club members should stagger their visits and keep them short.  Be aware of other patients in the same room as our child.  Transportation and time become important factors during the hospital stay.  The sponsoring club members should take on this responsibility.  Keep telephone contact numbers handy of drivers, translators, and support people.

             Spiritual Support is often essential to the well being of the child and family.  At the request of the child and parent/guardian, the Clergy of their choice should be contacted and be available for service.  Cultural associations in the local area are also a wonderful source of emotional well being.

               The Sponsoring club should set aside moneys to defray the daily cost of hosting the family.  Often special foods add a warm touch to the guest family’s stay.  Local touring may be appropriate when the child is physically strong - or for the parent while the child is still recuperating in the hospital.  Discuss this with the club chairperson.

                After recuperation, the child and/or family may visit with other club members or friends.  When possible, the family is encouraged to attend Rotary meetings and the district Gift of Life committee meeting.  Daily excursions are encouraged when healthfully prudent.  Do not allow the child to become over tired.  A final physical examination will take place within one or two weeks of surgery.  The child and family will then be cleared to return to their native country.  All farewell activities should be completed before the departure day.  Departure day is heart wrenching too.  A member of your family is leaving.

                 Please be aware that children often go home with more than they brought and may need extra luggage, but the airlines limit the amount of luggage each may carry without an extra charge.

The hospital coordinator is:    


                                        Ray Hough                   201-390-4053 (Cell)

                                                                                  201-445-0572 (Home)

                                                                                  201-342-3300 (Work)


This person is your primary hospital contact.  They will provide all information with relation to scheduling and hospital related matters. Please refer all bills to your hospital coordinator.


Yours in Rotary, 


Rotary District 7490 GIFT OF LIFE COMMITTEE




Host Family Guidelines