Poker champion donates time and money to Guyana charity

Anand "Victor" Ramdin put some of his $1.8 million poker winnings to good use recently by donating $100,000 to the Kids First Fund Heart 2 Heart program in Guyana. His donation will help take 14 children and four adults to India for heart treatments.

Ramdin, a Guyanese now based in New York, has been a member of the Guyana Watch in New York, and has been to Guyana on various missions of mercy in the past few years.

His recent poker winnings from the World Poker Tour (WPT) Championships in Las Vegas, a WPT championship at Foxwoods in Connecticut, and the Million V cruise gave him the chance to provide more immediate help through Guyana's First Lady Varshnie Jagdeo's Kids First Fund.

Ramdin is also donating some of his time as a volunteer on the trip. He accompanied the group to London for a fundraiser and will also travel to India for two weeks with the people receiving treatment before returning to the United States.

"We are eternally grateful to him for these wonderful gifts he is giving to those who could never have afforded to pay for their surgery," Jagdeo said.

Jagdeo said there are hundreds of children and adults in Guyana who need heart surgery, and time is against them. The Kids First Fund helps those financially challenged families who, without the help of the Ministry of Health, the fund, the private sector, and the general public, would never be able to afford the life saving surgery they need.

"The Heart 2 Heart campaign offers sick children the chance to access a new lease on life free and at the fraction of the cost elsewhere to us," Jagdeo said.

This is the third trip the group has been able to fund for treatment in India. The first trip in September 2005 benefited four children in need of heart care, and in March 2006, 15 patients benefited from the program. Jagdeo said the plan is to make a trip every three months, and they've already begun planning for one in August.

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