On Friday May 1, 2015, Gift of Life, Inc. celebrated its 40th anniversary with a packed house in the ballroom of the Garden City Hotel in Garden City, New York. Over 200 people attended the evening to recognize International Humanitarian Honoree Cardiac Surgeon Dr. Giancarlo Crupi and Angel Award Honoree Matt Campo, Executive Director of the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island.
Steven Capri, host for the evening along with GOL Board member Frank Macchio introduced several past recipients of life-saving heart surgery on the Gift of Life program including four Russian Gift of Life patients, Elena Volkova, Egor Melnik, Sasha Karaman, and Tatiana Romanova, all of whom had or will have heart surgery at St. Francis Hospital.
In one of the many emotional moments of the evening, Elena Volkova, who had life-saving surgery on April 19, 1990 at the age of 6, spoke about the impact Gift of Life had on her family. "It was so difficult for my mother and me to live with the idea that my life had a deadline. But thanks to everyone at Gift of Life, I am standing here today."
Egor Melnik had his surgery on January 17, 1991 at the age of 4. He is now the father of a girl.
Sasha Karaman had surgery on January 31, 2001 also at the age of 4. Orphaned in Russia, Sasha was adopted by his Gift of Life host family and now attends college in New York.
Tatiana Romanova is the latest Gift of Life patient here in the U.S. She will have life-saving surgery on May 6, 2015. Tatiana's mother Svetlana thanked all of the supporters gathered for helping to save her daughter's life. She said she would always pray for everyone's health and well being.
Also attending the gala were long time volunteers Olga and Alexander Floroff, RGOL USA Executive Director Michael Yurieff, RGOL USA Board Members Wally and Valentina Kowalenko and their friends Svetlana Bout, Elena Michaels and her granddaughter Alena.