2009-05-01 / Front Page

Heart 'n Soul plays for Pause for the Cause

By Natasha Derrick

For over two decades the Rotarians of District 7770 have been partnering with Gift of Life International to save children around the word. Each year children in need of life saving surgery are flown to S.C. and taken to one of five participating hospitals where they are given the necessary medical services free of charge.

On May 16, the Rotarians are inviting everyone to "Pause for the Cause," a benefit party featuring barbeque, dancing, and music by Heart n' Soul. Proceeds from ticket sales will go to support future surgeries for Gift of Life children.

This program has helped over 100 children since 1986. One of the most recent recipients was Wara Mamani, a 13- year- old girl from Bolivia. Wara was slowly dying of a heart defect when the Rotary club in her town of La Paz reached out to a few visiting graduate students from USC's Moore School of Business. They sent word back to Moore's director of international activities, Louis Dessau, who also happened to be a Five Points Rotary member.

"The club gave me the go ahead to do the research," Dessau said. "Eventually, we flew her and her grandfather here for surgery at Charleston's MUSC."

Wara Mamani, a 13- year- old Bolivian the Rotarians brought to S.C. for a life saving operation.
In order to qualify for surgery through the Gift of Life, the family must have very little money, and the medical services required must not be available in their country. Pediatric cardiology is not offered anywhere in Bolivia and Wara's only guardian was her grandfather, Estaban, who worked as a night watchman at a Toyota dealership. La Paz's high elevation further exacerbated Wara's condition making it even harder to breathe.

"Her grandfather would never have the resources to get a head cold taken care of here," Dessau said. "That puts it in perspective."

Dessau hopes that one day she'll return and attend USC.

The opportunity to help children in need is what led the charity band Heart n' Soul to play at the event. The non- profit group is composed of musicians ages 50- 70 who donate their time and resources to providing 50s and 60s tunes at charity functions. The group has attracted music lovers from all walks of life. Heart n' Soul counts lawyers, accountants, a dentist, and a nurse among its ranks.

"Our drummer Doug Neal belongs to the Rotary Club," said band member Marion Brown. "We are particularly interested in charities that benefit children, so this seemed like a natural fit for us."

Heart n' Soul donates a large portion of its fee to the charity affiliated with the event they are playing, only keeping what is necessary to cover a few expenses. Heart n' Soul also saves any profit from private events to be distributed to charities in the future.

Pause for the Cause will be held May 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the University House. Tickets are $25 and available by mailing checks to Linda Hostetler at P.O. Box 100200 Columbia, SC 29202.

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