Hyderabad, Sept 28
SANIA Mirza, the tennis star, will endorse wristbands and teddy bears with the insignia of SACH (Save A Child's Heart) and write thanksgiving letters to those who contributed to the fund promoted by the Apollo group of hospitals.
The wristbands and teddy bears would be sold at the Apollo pharmacies and hospitals across the country.
They would also be sold at other retail showrooms.
Announcing her decision to support the foundation, Sania Mirza said that people could contribute whatever little they could to lend a helping hand to the hapless children.
SACH so far screened 25,000 children for heart problems in the country. So far, it has financed the surgeries of 600 children.
"We have a list of 3,240 children waiting for surgery and the list is growing by the day," said Ms Sangitha Reddy, Executive Director (Operations).
While the group offers support up to one-third of the total cost, the Andhra Pradesh Government also provides financial help. "What remains is 35-50 per cent of the total costs (Rs 25,000 for normal surgeries and Rs 50,000 for complicated ones)," she added.
Telugu film stars Charmi, Jagapathi Babu, and Kannada film star Vishnuvardhan have joined Sania Mirza in supporting the cause.
Dr K.S. Murthy, Chief paediatric cardio-thoracic surgeon at Apollo and Medical Director of SACH, said that Sania Mirza's gesture would go a long way in highlighting the importance of popular support for tackling the huge task.
"It (heart problems in children) is not something that we can spend money and solve forever. We have to live that for years to come as more and more children are born with heart diseases," he said.
Calling for support for such initiatives, Jagapathi Babu mentioned the Lance Armstrong example, relating how the legendary cyclist defeated cancer to win seven Tour de France titles.