Dean Jeremy Tabadero, 11, was diagnosed with a hole in his heart in 1997. Due to poverty, he was only able to receive heart surgery this year through the Gift of Life Foundation.
In addition to Jeremy, 61 other indigent kids in the Philippines suffering from congenital heart disease will now have a chance to live a longer and fuller life after Western Union Financial Services Inc., a subsidiary of First Data Corp. and a global leader in money transfer services, together with its Philippine agents - through the First Data Western Union Foundation - presented a US$124,000 grant to the Gift of Life.
The Gift of Life is a U.S.-based non-profit organization that has recently started to finance the surgeries of young Filipino children suffering from congenital heart diseases.
The donation is the single largest-ever made by the First Data Western Union Foundation in Asia Pacific. It is a collaborative effort by Western Union Agents in the Philippines and the foundation. Local companies Universal Storefront Services Corp., Petnet Inc., E-Business Services, Inc. and M Lhuillier, Inc. collectively raised US$62,000 which was matched dollar-for-dollar by the foundation for a total grant of US$124,000.
The Gift of Life Heart Surgery for Minors, which is spearheaded by the Rotary Club of Makati West, a chapter of the international organization in the Philippines, provides free surgery to indigent minors suffering from inborn heart defects. Through the support of partner hospitals and doctors, the cost of surgery has been reduced to US$2,000.
Patricia Riingen, country director of Western Union Philippines, said the donation is tangible proof of Western Union's commitment to give back to the communities in which it operates.
"This is not a one-off initiative. Western Union is committed to on-going fund-raising activities to continue our support of Gift of Life and other worthy programs in the Philippines," she said.
"This is Western Union's way of giving back to Filipinos who reside in the Philippines and the large Filipino community who work overseas a tangible symbol of our gratitude for their trust and continued patronage of Western Union and its services."
The company believes it has a part to play in making the world a better place. "What better way than to improve the health and quality of life of children who are our future," Riingen said.
Western Union has more than 5,500 agent locations in the Philippines, providing ease and convenience to customers making international and domestic money transfer transactions. With more than 10 years of experience in the Philippine market, Western Union has developed strong relationships with Filipinos at home and abroad through innovative programs that address their needs. The majority of its business in the Philippines is based on remittances from overseas Filipino workers.
The First Data Western Union Foundation, the charitable organization of First Data Corporation, supports philanthropic initiatives worldwide. Since its inception in December 2000, the foundation has donated millions of dollars to help those most in need. Grants are made to non-profit organizations in health, education and human services that strengthen and improve the lives of many individuals and communities throughout the world. Scholarships are given to non-traditional college students.