Mend a Broken Heart is the flagship project of the Rotary Club of Metro Iloilo (RCMI). This life-changing project was started in Rotary Year (RY) 2006-2007 during the incumbency of Past President (PP) Ronnel Quiñon, and intermittently in the years after, until 2010 when it was shelved due to unavailability of funds.

In the second half of RY 2011-2012, with the help of PP Ray Celis and Rotarian Leo Malunes, a cardiovascular surgeon, the project was revived with funds from Past District Governor Edgar Sy, for two beneficiaries. In the succeeding year, during the term of PP Philip Co as president, the Rotary Club of Palo Alto, California, RI District 5170 USA, provided funds for eight children. With additional support coming from benevolent individuals whose hearts were touched by the plight of the children, eleven patients availed of surgery. The Mend a Broken Heart project became the club’s flagship project, and was awarded the Best Community Service Project during the 2012-2013 District Conference. Each year thereafter, ten to eleven children benefited from this.

In RY 2013-2014, the club, with the Rotary Club of Itako, RI District 2820 (Japan), was awarded a Matching Grant to accommodate more beneficiaries waiting in line. During that time, sixty-one indigent children, who would either have poor quality of life or worse, a shorter life span, were provided quality life, a hope and a future through the project.

Patent Ductus Arteriosus or PDA, is a congenital condition where the fetal blood vessel does not close soon after birth (as it normally should). As it remains open, there is an irregular transmission of blood between the aorta and the pulmonary artery resulting to persistent respiratory problems such as hypoxia or the deprivation of adequate oxygen supply.

Children with PDA are characterized as weak, inactive, underweight, easily fatigued, easily catches cold and are susceptible to cough or pneumonia. In simpler terms, they have a poor quality of life. As PDA is not an uncommon abnormality, most especially in premature babies, there are many indigent children waiting in line to avail of the free services of RCMI and our stakeholders: the pediatric cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons and anesthesiologists whose services are pro bono; and our partner hospital, The Medical City-Iloilo.

However, we can only accommodate as much as our funds would allow us–the more funds we have, the more children we could help. The project depends on the donations of Rotary clubs, organizations, and individuals to give hope and a future to indigent children with PDA by sponsoring the cost of surgery. A simple ligation would cost between Php 200,000 to 300,000 per patient for hospital accommodation, cardiac cath lab, supplies, medicine, doctors’ fees, etc. The trans catheter procedure would cost more. As a partner, Medical City-Iloilo charges RCMI an average of Php 50,000 for hospital accommodation, cardiac cath lab, supplies and medicines, as the cost of each case varies.

For Rotary year 2017-2018, as of February 2018, the project has benefited seventeen children through funds provided by the Rotary Club of Palo Alto and several other individual donors.