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Stories From Main Street: Donations Quadruple At S.I. Charity Following ’60 Minutes’ Profile

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An Iraqi child named Wa'ad (featured in the 60 Minutes story) in a wheelchair (credit: Global Medical Relief Fund)

An Iraqi child named Wa’ad (featured in the 60 Minutes story) in a wheelchair (credit: Global Medical Relief Fund)

88adams Sean Adams
Do you have a minute? Turn up your radio and let me tell you a...
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) - It’s been an extraordinary couple of weeks for Elissa Montanti from Staten Island.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams on Staten Island

“I actually rescue children from war and natural disasters,” says Montanti.

Elissa Montanti (right) is seen in Haiti (credit: Global Medical Relief Fund)

Elissa Montanti (right) is seen in Haiti (credit: Global Medical Relief Fund)

For fifteen years, Montanti has, in relative obscurity, run the Global Medical Relief Fund from a makeshift office in her walk-in closet. She begs, pleads, and negotiates with doctors, hospitals, and airlines to help children who’ve been burned or lost limbs in war or natural disasters.

Following a “60 Minutes” profile, the phone has been ringing off the hook.

LINK: Watch the 60 Minutes Story

“They brought the awakening to all these people that have come forth, in letters, e-mails, in calls… just overwhelming, and I am so moved by this, so moved by this. I’m humbled,” says Montanti.

Donations have quadrupled.

“Our computer crashed,” says Montanti. “Donations are coming in and I’m so so grateful, but the outpouring of love, it is so inspiring and my heart is just so touched and so moved by these people from all over the country.”

Stories from Main Street - Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

Stories from Main Street - Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

RELATED: More Stories from Main Street

Now more children will recieve new limbs and reconstructive surgery.

“I have five coming in the next two weeks – four from Iraq and one from Afghanistan. I have a Kosovo child here now, a child from Nepal and two Haitian children that are in the Shriners Hospital that are admitted,” says Montanti. “You know what, it’s energizing when I know that there’s something that I can do to help. It really energizes me. My adrenaline just starts to flow when I get a request, when it’s a child that I know, in fact, that, yes, I can help.”

Mending broken lives, one child at a time. It’s Elissa Montanti’s calling and her message is spreading.

“That’s what it’s all about – putting the child back together again, giving them their youth, their dignity, and having them stand tall on their own two feet,” says Montanti, who is grateful to “60 Minutes.”

The Global Medical Relief Fund can be reached by phone at 718-448-6984 or online HERE.

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