Often we are asked do you ever see the children again? The answer is yes, on occasion we are fortunate enough to visit with one of our children after they have recovered and successfully lived a number of happy, healthy years. Recently, one of our board members, May Montag-McMurry, a Point Pleasant Boro Rotarian planned to attend the 2015 Rotary International Convention in Sao Paulo, Brazil with fellow Rotarian Gift of Life Trustee, Nancy Haddock from the Matawan-Aberdeen Rotary. As part of her itinerary she included a stop to visit a very special friend of hers, Maria Benitez. Back in July of 2008, 24 month old Maria was selected for the Gift of Life program to repair a congenital heart defect, a hole between the ventricles in her heart. There were no facilities capable of performing this delicate surgery in her country and so, District 7500 Gift of Life Foundation brought Maria to the U.S. for the surgery.
After the surgery at Newark's Beth Israel Medical Center there were some complications and Maria and her mother stayed with May at her home in Point Pleasant, providing care and transport to the hospital and doctor visits.
While May and Nancy had not seen Maria or her family since Maria returned home, May did keep in touch and this was an opportune time for her to plan a long-desired reunion.
The reunion with now 9-year old Maria was joyous. May and Nancy spent four days with the family and renewed the close relationship they had while Maria was here in the U.S.