New Delhi, Sep 17: Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar is supporting over 600 life-saving heart surgeries for underprivileged children in India. The legendary cricketer is part of the Heart to Heart (H2H) Foundation.
The surgeries will be done by the Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospitals in India, which recently completed the milestone of performing over 10,000 surgeries since 2012, all free of cost.
Of these, 400 surgeries were funded by the H2H Foundation in a short span of six months, including 34 surgeries exclusively funded by the legendary cricketer.
"It's has been a great opening innings to the multi-city USA tour to support free heart surgeries for children in India and I am very thankful for the overwhelming participation by many across several cities," said Gavaskar.
The absence of skilled pediatric care and financial constraints faced by economically challenged families result in over 250 children dying every day in India due to Congenital Heart Defects (CHD).
"The Sathya Sai Sanjeevani hospitals in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Haryana have performed over 10,000 surgeries and catheter interventions since 2012, all totally free of cost. Sadly, over 36,000 children are registered and still waiting for treatment. Many will not live long if left untreated," said C Sreenivas, chairman of Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospitals.
Last month, the H2H Foundation had launched "Freedom from CHD" initiative for spreading awareness and participation for free heart surgeries, starting with the multi-city tour titled "Bat-for-Life".
The tour has received an encouraging response across New Jersey, Atalanta, Fermont - California, Milpitas - San Fransisco and the latest gathering in Chicago that took place this week.
As an acknowledgement to those willing to bat alongside him to give a "gift of life" to a needy child, Gavaskar signed a bat each.
(With inputs from PTI)