Young at heart: Sunil Gavaskar to fund heart surgery for 35 kids on 71st birthday

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On the occasion of his 71st birthday, Indian cricket icon Sunil Gavaskar has decided to sponsor the cost of heart surgery for 35 children at Shri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital for Child Health Care. This is a repeat action which Gavaskar also undertook on his last birthday. The number 35 is a testament to the number of centuries he scored for India.

“While there are many areas of need that one can serve, children have a special place of importance. They remain the joy of every family and usher in hope of a bright future that all look forward to,” Gavaskar commented to The Times of India.

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About his motivation, Gavaskar said: “Sadly, congenital heart disease is the commonest defect at birth in India… Many have no chance to survive and lead a life of dignity… And most of them are poor, and care is limited in the country. The ‘Heart to Heart Foundation,’ which I work for, provides hundreds of these children the gift of life, through the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Centres for Children Heart Care in Naya Raipur, Palwal, Haryana, and Kharghar, Navi Mumbai—free of cost. The motto there is ‘only dil, no bill’.”

Gavaskar, who is universally acknowledged as one of the greatest openers in the history of the purest form of the game, said that it feels nice to give back a healthy life: “The experience to give back to the anxious family their child after a complex life-saving heart surgery is a defining one, from hopelessness and desperation we present a new healthy life to them. This transforms into gratitude… and gift given brings so much good into the world we live in.”

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