Darineyka, or Dari, as we have come to call her, arrived at JFK Airport from Panama on July 7th with her devoted Aunt Joana. Dari is 12 years old and was born with a serious congenital heart defect. Otherwise she is a typical pre-teen who loves lipstick, sequins and computer games!
Dari had heart surgery in Panama when she was younger, but the complicated procedures required to improve her health and longevity were beyond the capability of the surgeons in her country.  Enter Rotary and Gift of Life.
Gift of Life patient Dari and her Aunt Joana
 
Gift of Life NJ learned of Dari's case through Gift of Life International and Tom Ford of Gift of Life Panama. The members of the Rotary Club of Montville not only offered to sponsor her surgery financially, but also agreed to host Dari and Joana during their stay.  Through the incredible generosity of Natascha and Carlos Restrepo, patient and caregiver had a loving home for the duration.
 
Dari's 14-hour surgery was successfully performed by Dr. Suvro Sett and his team on August 3 at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital, Westchester Medical Center, in Valhalla, NY.  Dari has made an amazing recovery.  She was discharged within 5 days and recuperated at the Restrepos' home.  She passed her postoperative examinations and tests with flying colors, and returned home the week of August 28. 
 
Thank you to all who visited them in the hospital and at home. You brought them meals and gifts, took them shopping and spent quality time with them.  It meant the world to them.
 
A special thank you to the Montville Rotary Club.  Although it is a small club, members took ownership of this project by visiting, transporting, feeding, and most of all, caring, about Dari and Joana. Service above self in action.
 
As you can see in the photo,  Dari always wears a beautiful smile.  Thanks to Gift of Life we hope she will lead a typical teenager's life filled with lots of lipstick and sparkles!