Staff Reporter

KOCHI: The Heart Care Foundation, an organisation working to create awareness of cardiac ailments and focussing on preventive cardiac care, launched a scheme to help poor heart patients on its first anniversary on World Heart Day on Sunday.

High Court judge Kurian Joseph launched the scheme `Thousand Hearts, Thousand Lives, Thousand Families' at a function attended by actor Suresh Gopi and cricketer S. Sreesanth. Senior cardiac surgeon P.K.R. Warrier was given the Lifetime Service Award on the occasion. Dr. Warrier was among those surgeons who conducted heart surgeries when facilities were far from adequate.

He retired as head of the cardiac surgery department at Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital in 1977. Even after retiring, he was associated with many activities in developing the hospital.

Mr. Joseph presented him with the award. Earlier, he said people needed to work towards building a society with a "good heart".

Dr. Warrier spoke about the legal aspects of donating his organs.

"We are all walking about with spare parts. I will consider it a sin to bury or burn all these spare parts," he said.

The scheme launched by the foundation will provide financial aid to poor patients getting treatment at Government hospitals. It will provide Rs.25,000 towards the cost of meeting expenses of the surgery.

Actor Suresh Gopi released the heart band for students to creating awareness among youth about heart care.

Sreesanth, who received the first heart band, spoke on the occasion. Collector A.P.M. Mohammed Hanish released a book brought out by the foundation. George Dominic, managing director of Casino Hotels, received the book.

Jose Chacko Periapuram, chairman of the foundation, welcomed the gathering.