Cricket legend Sunny aka Sunil Gavaskar is in the Bay Area with stories that tug at the hearts of the audience. He tells us the story of seven-day-old baby girl Ananya who was given a free life saving heart surgery by the Heart2Heart Foundation at their hospital in Mumbai. Her heart probably, he says, was the size of a peanut. She was fine within a week. Sunny Gavaskar hopes, as his guru Satya Sai Baba has predicted that she will grow up to be a doctor and save many lives, and that when he needs help baby Ananya will be his doctor.

Gavaskar, who has visited the Raipur and the Delhi Sai Sanjeevani Hospitals in addition to the Mumbai one, speaks of the desperation he has seen in the eyes of a parent who knows that his baby needs a heart operation to survive and they know they can’t afford one.

India remains the world capital for Congenital Heart Disease (CHD), with 300,000 children born each year. Without medical/surgical care, over 25% children die before their 1st birthday, contributing to over 10% of the Infant Mortality Rate and resulting in 250+ children dying every day; many more die in infancy or in the preschool ages. Only a small fraction of children with CHD can afford the cardiac surgery, which can cost over $100,000 in the United States.

With frugal innovations in CHD care H2H foundation has reduced the average cost of an open-heart surgery to only $1,200 per patient, which would otherwise be $75,000 to $125,000 in the United States and $5,000 to $9,000 in India.

Gavaskar pointed out Heart to Heart (H2H) Foundation’s Arvind Thiagarajan’s stethoscope acts as an EKG and displays the reading through Bluetooth on a tablet or iPad. Arvind, with inspiration from his mentor Dr. Abdul Kalam, has developed world’s first intelligent stethoscope with integrated EKG. It connects with a mobile app or a tablet using Bluetooth and can detect a heart murmur without doing an echocardiogram. As of now 500,000 children are being scanned in India. The plan is to have a stethoscope in every village.

Heart to Heart (H2H) Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving the lives of children born with CHD, by providing FREE pediatric cardiac surgeries in collaboration with the group of Sai Sanjeevani Hospitals in India. Since February 2014, these hospitals have also been providing primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare exclusively to children with CHD and over 10,000 surgeries have been performed totally free of cost.

10,000 are also the number of innings played by Gavaskar. Additionally for every test century he has scored he has personally funded the same number of surgeries.

On 6th & 7th September H2H Foundation is hosting “Heart to Heart with Sunil Gavaskar” events in San Francisco Bay area. It is a treat to listen to Sunny’s stories about cricket and his personal life.

Ritu Marwah is an award-winning author ✍️ and a recognized Bay Area leader in the field of 🏛 art and literature. She won the 2023 Ethnic Media Services award for outstanding international reporting;...