Author Archives: Lianne Wand

Your Body Knows Best: Listen to your Heart

Local entrepreneur Doug Assaly didn’t seem a likely candidate for heart disease.

As the owner of Honey Construction and founder of The Fuel Bar, Doug was passionate about eating well and staying fit, and was a competitive kickboxer.

But in late 2015, at age 54, Doug began experiencing occasional chest pains.

“I’d only feel them when I was training or running, but I was in great shape so I thought the problem was just my lungs—that I needed to train harder to improve my cardio, and I was just hitting a wall. I kind of ignored it,” he says.

During an appointment with his physician, Doug decided to mention the pains in passing.

“I told him pretty much as I was heading out the door—I had barely given it a second thought,” he recalls. “But my doctor took it seriously and decided to send me to the Heart Institute for tests.”

 

DIAGNOSIS: BLOCKAGE

Preliminary tests at the Heart Institute determined that Doug’s heart rate was not recovering properly after exercise.

Then, using 3D imaging, they identified blood flow issues around his heart.

An angioplasty was scheduled for February 2016. Doug had two artery blockages at 90%, with his main artery at 60% blockage.

“Although they were thinking of using stents to hold the arteries open,” says Doug, “they realized that wasn’t the preferred procedure in my case.”

And so, Doug was scheduled for open-heart triple bypass surgery in May 2016.

 

SHOCK, THEN ACCEPTANCE

Doug’s first reaction to learning he needed surgery was disbelief.

“I do come from a family with high cholesterol and heart disease—one of my brothers even had surgery. But I really didn’t think I’d be impacted,” he explains. “I was in really good shape, a very healthy eater, and able to do these extreme sports. I was even the most fit of my friends. Everyone was shocked.”

However, he decided to accept the situation. “In the whole process, my main concern was leaving my 10-year-old son behind,” he says. “That was my greatest fear, so I played it down in front of my son.”

 

KEEPING PATIENTS INFORMED

Doug was put on medication to slow his heart and keep him in a temporarily healthier state and took part in a two hour workshop to learn about the procedure and recovery.

Despite the seriousness of the upcoming surgery, Doug remained calm. He credits the Heart Institute’s staff for keeping him continuously informed and educated.

“The Heart Institute is full of very nice, warm and caring people who explained everything to me, all through the process,” he says. “Never did they leave me hanging or wondering about things. If I had a question, it was answered. In fact, they often gave me answers before I really had a chance to ask!”

The night before his surgery, Dr. Fraser Rubens visited him in his hospital room.

“My doctor wanted to be sure I was okay—and his level of confidence made me feel relaxed, right up to the point where I was wheeled into the operating room the next day.”

 

A STRONG RECOVERY

That ongoing communication between professionals and patient continued following Doug’s surgery.

“The nurses were extremely knowledgeable—and particularly after surgery, they were fantastic, explaining things and telling me why they were doing certain things. It was really comforting.”

Within a day of surgery, Doug was up and walking.

Within 10 weeks, Doug was able to return to exercising. Within 14 weeks, he was “pretty much going full blast, although not to the level I would have been at, had I not gone through the surgery.”

By September 2016, Doug was even strong enough to travel to Disney World with his son.

“I wasn’t 100% but I was good enough to spend time in Florida for seven days, doing the waterparks and rides and everything,” he says.

Today, Doug is back to work full-time and kickboxing and weight training three times a week.

 

LEADERS AT HEART

Recently, Doug joined Leaders at Heart 2020: a group of community volunteers with strong personal ties to the Heart Institute who are working together to develop future volunteer and philanthropic leadership, and raise funds for the Heart Institute.

“This group is supporting the expansion of the Heart Institute, including the equipment required, to expand the services they already have,” says Doug. “The Heart Institute staff does such great work, but if they have the funds to do surgery more quickly or even better than they are currently doing, that would be wonderful.”

Doug has personally donated to the Heart Institute, as has his company.

 

DON’T IGNORE SYMPTOMS

Since his heart experience, Doug has been encouraging others to pay attention to their own bodies.

“They say heart disease is a silent killer, which is so true. I only experienced pain when I was training, but I didn’t have any other symptoms,” says Doug. “Thankfully I stopped training—but if I hadn’t, I might have had a heart attack or stroke. That’s the reality— heart disease doesn’t always rear its ugly head the same way for everybody.”

“So if you experience any kind of symptom, pay attention and talk to your doctor about it. If you have symptoms of anything, just mention it. Because if I hadn’t mentioned those pains to my own doctor in passing, who knows where I’d be today.”

 

 

 

Legacy Giving – Anyone Can Make a Gift in Their Will.

There’s a misconception that legacy giving is only for the wealthy and that the words “Estate Gift” are associated with palatial like homes and considerable personal riches.  But the truth is that Legacy Giving is for everyone- anyone can make a gift in their will.

Legacy gifts can range anywhere from $150 to over $1 million – but it’s the thought that counts beyond measure of monetary amount. Legacy gifts are very meaningful because they reflect the hopes and vision of the donors who make such arrangements, and every gift is appreciated.

You spend your lifetime building your personal wealth and if you are considering a legacy gift, you are choosing an organization that (to you) represents the future of what you value for those you care about and your community.

Below are some of the most common questions that come up for those thinking about a legacy gift:

  • Can I ensure my loved ones are provided for and still support the Heart Institute?
  • What if my circumstances change?
  • Do I have the means to make a legacy gift?
  • What impact will my gift make?
  • Do I feel good when I think about my legacy gift?

 

Can I ensure my loved ones are provided for and still support the Heart Institute?  Providing for your loved ones and making a legacy gift are not mutually exclusive.  There are many options that can help you provide for your loved ones and support the Heart Institute.  In fact, legacy gifts can provide your estate with a tax credit that will enable you to leave more to the people and causes you love and give less to the taxman.  Options such as:

  • Residual Gifts or Bequests
  • Gifts of Life Insurance
  • Gifts of Listed Securities
  • Gifts of Retirement Funds
  • Trusts

What if my circumstances change?  Our lives are forever changing, which is what makes it so important to have a will and to revisit your will regularly.  As you move through life, you may find that you have a little more to share.  Or you may find that, after working hard over the years, you deserve to spoil yourself a little, travel, treat the grand-children, indulge, and find yourself with a little less to leave behind.  That’s the thing about legacy gifts, they’re flexible and  can change right along with you.

Your will included a gift of cash for the Heart Institute, but you now find yourself needing to make a change.  Maybe a residual gift to the Heart Institute is a better fit for you at this time; take care of what needs to be taken care of first and, if you wish, you bequeath what’s left, the residue, to the Heart Institute.

The important message here is that you always have a choice and the option to make changes or to change your mind altogether.

 Do I have the means to make a legacy gift?  A legacy gift is simply a gift provision made within an individual’s will.  However, there are different ways a person can provide a legacy gift.

Life Insurance policies are a great example. You may have an existing policy on which you pay premiums, and you have reached a level of financial stability that the policy no longer holds the same value for you.  If you name the Heart Institute as beneficiary, the policy will not form part of your estate and therefore, won’t be subject to probate fees.  In addition, your estate will receive a charitable tax receipt for the value of the contribution (the policy) – which means more of your estate will go where you intended and less will go to the tax man.

Or maybe you would prefer to transfer ownership of the policy to the Heart Institute and continue to pay the premiums, in which case you will benefit from a charitable tax receipt for premiums paid during your life time.

Talk to your bank, financial advisor, or lawyer to see which of the many available options is best for you. More information about the different legacy giving options is also available on our website.

What impact will my gift make? All legacy gifts have a remarkable impact on the work we do, the growth and future of the Heart Institute, and the cardiac health of your community.  Legacy gifts allow us to plan for the future, to ensure that the Heart Institute is here for generations to come – continuing to provide excellent patient care and still making groundbreaking discoveries.  It’s not about just one gift!

In 2017 the Heart Institute received 45 gifts ranging in value from $325 to $450,000 for a grand total of $2.6M.  These gifts funded education, research, patient care, equipment purchases, women’s heart health, and so much more.    And you can’t imagine all of the incredible accomplishments of these programs made possible thanks to legacy gifts.  Read more about legacy giving impact in Marion’s story.

At the very heart of it, a legacy gift is very personal. If you are considering a gift in your will to the Heart Institute, it’s because our work and vision for the future of cardiac care resonates with you.

Your decision to leave a legacy gift is extremely important and will have an impact and help shape the way cardiovascular medicine is practiced and revolutionize cardiac treatment and understanding to serve the local community right here in Ottawa as well as in the  national and international communities.

So to recap:

  • Make sure you have a will
  • Talk to your financial advisors and lawyers, about ways to support your family and the causes you love – and about how one can help you to leave more for the other
  • Talk to your loved ones
  • Revisit your will
  • Then revisit your will again
  • Treat yourself, travel, treat your loved ones
  • Aaaaand revisit your will again
  • Most important – create peace of mind by designing a legacy you are proud of

 

Giving with Heart

Marion Martell is passionate about health, or more specifically, women’s heart health. There is no doubt that it has been a driving force in her leadership and volunteer work with the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

It is her passion for women’s heart health and for the work being done at the Heart Institute through the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre that inspired her to leave a legacy gift in her will.

As a former nurse, Marion understands the impact that health can have on someone’s life. “I always knew I would be doing something related to health in my retirement,” Marion shared.

Marion is committed to helping women better understand their own heart health and to championing the opportunity to provide education, awareness, and support for women in our community.

Heart health has touched Marion’s life in more ways than one. Her father had valve surgery at the Heart Institute in the 1990s and then in 2008, she herself became a patient at the Heart Institute. Marion had developed sudden onset complete heart block. She required surgery and received a permanent pacemaker. Her firsthand experience as a patient gave her a deeper understanding of the importance of heart health.

As the years passed, Marion became more and more involved in programs connected to women’s heart health. She became a member of the Women’s Heart Champion Advisory Committee, and contributed to the creation of the Women @ Heart Peer Support Program (a program launched for women with  heart disease, run by women with heart disease to provide information, education, and support) and became one of its leaders and continues as both leader and Program Ambassador.

Marion is also involved in fundraising for the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. From 2009-2016 she co-chaired the Jeanne Fuller Red Dress Golf Classic which supports the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre and raises awareness about heart disease in women.

Marion’s desire to help women through her volunteer and advocacy work led to her decision to not only volunteer but to also give what she could financially. Heart disease used to be considered a “man’s disease,” but no longer. Heart disease is a leading cause of death among Canadian women. Although more research is being conducted than ever before around women’s heart health, there is still work to be done in order to better understand how heart disease presents in women.

“There is a gap in education and awareness around women’s heart health,” said Marion. “When I decided to give a legacy gift in my will, I did so in order to help sustain the many valuable  and essential programs at the Heart Institute,  including those provided by Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre.”

Marion’s legacy gift gives her the opportunity to make a lasting impact on an area that is important to her. “I am simply glad to be playing a small part,” she said. “And doing what I can to remind women that I sincerely take their health to heart.”

A legacy gift through your will can affect the development of new programs to further the research that will become tomorrow’s treatments.

To learn more about the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre, please visit https://cwhhc.ottawaheart.ca.

To learn more about leaving a legacy, please  contact the Legacy Gifts team at 613-696-7251 or wjksociety@ottawaheart.ca.

WHEN GIVING BACK IS SECOND NATURE

When revising their wills in 2014, Ottawa residents Paul and Marilyn Koch decided to leave a legacy gift to the Heart Institute. “The Heart Institute, without question, saved my life,” said Paul.

 

An active volunteer fundraiser, Paul Koch and his wife Marilyn have donated time and funds to many organizations and causes. In 2009, at the corner of Bronson and Carling, life took a turn for the Kochs, and this event played a large part in their decision to include the Heart Institute in their legacy giving plans.

 

Paul and Marilyn had been out to dinner to celebrate their wedding anniversary that night in 2009. Upon returning home, Paul did not feel well, but, at first, chalked it up to an indulgent meal. The next morning as his symptoms persisted, Paul logged on to the internet to investigate. He had an existing hiatus hernia, which can have symptoms that resemble a heart attack, so his second thought was that the hernia was causing his discomfort. Just then, his arm began to tingle and it became clear to both that a heart attack might be imminent.

 

Rather than calling 911 which would have been the better thing to do, they jumped into the car and with Marilyn driving traveled from their home in Hunt Club toward the Civic Hospital. At the corner of Bronson and Carling, Paul experienced severe heart pain! As they reached the hospital, Paul jumped out of the car and ran into the hospital emergency room exclaiming, “I think I’m having a heart attack!”.

 

Within minutes he was wheeled over to the Heart Institute, and within an hour he was on the operating table. Paul had a 100% blockage of his LAD artery. In surgery he had a stent put in, and then spent four days recovering at the Heart Institute. “Two weeks later I walked 18 holes of golf,” said Paul, in praise of the care he received.

 

In many ways, Paul and Marilyn Koch have spent their lives giving back to their communities. Both lifelong volunteers and fundraisers, the Kochs are now both retired and continue to annually support over 20 organizations, both locally and globally.

 

Inspired by his father, who served as Chair of the Guelph City Planning Board in the 1940s, Paul has been volunteering since he was a child growing up in Guelph, Ontario. “My father was very active in the community and he always encouraged me to be involved and give back to my community — to give time and be as generous as I could be from a philanthropic point of view.”

 

Over the years, Paul’s volunteerism traveled with him from the University of Waterloo where he received his engineering degree to many organizations in Burlington, Sarnia, North York and finally in Ottawa where the Kochs permanently laid down their roots after IBM transferred them here in 1980.

 

During his time working for IBM, Paul would reach out to colleagues to help raise funds for a variety of charitable causes.“Often when I would call business associates, they would ask, ‘Who are you raising money for now ?’”, Paul laughed.

 

In Ottawa, he has contributed his time and energy to organizations such as The Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, The Riverside Hospital Foundation (now the OutCare Foundation), EnviroCentre, The City of Ottawa Environmental Advisory Committee, the Ottawa Sustainability Fund at the Community Foundation and most recently the LPGA’s Canadian Pacific Women’s Open as the Ecology Committee Co-Chair.

 

In their retirement, Paul and Marilyn enjoy golfing and traveling. However, they still spend time giving back to their community. “Volunteering is one way we keep ourselves busy and feel that we are making a contribution.” He added with a smile, “We don’t know how we had time to work!” While they had previously donated to the Heart Institute, since Paul’s heart attack in 2009, the Kochs have made annual gifts to the Institute which are supported by IBM’s 50% Matching Grant Program for retirees. In 2014 when redoing their wills it therefore only seemed natural to leave a legacy gift to support long term priorities.  “We will continue to support the Heart Institute annually as well as leaving the legacy gift because of the great work that is done there.”

 

“I owe a lot to the Heart Institute,” Paul expressed. “We’ve been so blessed. ” The Kochs’ legacy will undoubtedly be one of service, and the Heart Institute is certainly grateful to be a part of their giving plans.

 

When you leave a legacy gift to the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation, you become a member of the Wilbert J. Keon Legacy Society and will become part of providing ongoing support that funds patient care, research, the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre, the most urgent needs of the Heart Institute, among other initiatives and innovations. Your gift will not only help save and improve the lives of others, but it will help you to leave a lasting legacy you can be proud of. To learn more about including the Heart Institute in your Will, please contact the Legacy Gifts team at 613-696-7251 or  wjklegacysociety@ottawaheart.ca

Home for the Holidays

My name is Eric Auger.

This Christmas, I’m excited to say I will be home for the holidays, able to see my son’s face as he opens his presents. And I’ll be able to give him a hug and kiss.

I wasn’t able to do that last year.

That’s because, after a seven-month wait of being on a transplant list, I received a call on December 11, 2016—telling me a heart had been found for me.

Within 48 hours, I not only had a new heart—but an entirely new lease on life.

 

A rough start

I was born with congenital heart disease and—prior to my heart surgery—had 13 surgeries in the first three decades of my life. I also had a pacemaker by the time I was 12!

I was only 14 months old when I had my first heart operation. During surgery, I didn’t get enough oxygen to my brain, which caused some brain damage and a mild case of cerebral palsy.

At age three or four, doctors told my mother that I wouldn’t ever be able to walk.

However, my mom wouldn’t put me in a wheelchair. She believed I would walk again. And she was right. I didn’t start walking until I was six…but I still did it.

 

A pretty normal childhood

You may be surprised by this, but I didn’t really feel physical pain when I was younger. My heart condition was quite manageable.

Still, growing up, kids weren’t always nice to me. They basically laughed at me because my cerebral palsy made me shake so much.

I also had a very small frame and because of my condition, wasn’t really able to do much physical activity. However, I could sometimes play road hockey, soccer and baseball with my closest friends, who understood I had a heart condition (they took it a bit easier on me.)

Life was actually pretty normal. Keep in mind, I was used to having this condition and dealt with it very much on my own, asking for a little help here and there…but not very much.

By the time I was a teenager, you could say I had a pretty typical life: partying, and hanging out with friends and girlfriends. I wasn’t as good with taking my medication as I could have been, but life was pretty good.

It really wasn’t until adulthood that things changed.

 

Cardiac arrest

In my mid-20s, I was beginning to slow down a lot, and didn’t know what was wrong with me.

I didn’t tell anyone. But I should have—because at age 29, I had my first cardiac arrest.

I died that day: they actually pronounced me dead for an hour.

I had no brain activity, no oxygen, no nothing. I was told that the paramedics worked on me for an hour straight.

I went into a coma at the Heart Institute for almost two weeks.

Somehow, I pulled out of it and went back to feeling perfectly normal.

But that was just temporary. Unfortunately, this was only the beginning of my troubles.

 

Total hell

I had three more heart attacks over the next 4-5 years—and was pronounced dead two more of those times.

I refer to that period of my life as total hell—for me, as well as my family, who had to see me suffer.

Eventually, the team at the Heart Institute said I had two options: either put my name on the transplant list, or die slowly.

I was only 34.

It may surprise you, but it was a hard decision in a way. The main reason is my heart flipped upside-down when I was born—so all my arteries, vessels and blood flow were backward. Basically, my anatomy is different than most.

Despite this, I decided to go on the transplant list in early 2016. But by September of last year, I had been in and out of the hospital every month.

As a result, my name was accelerated closer to the top of the list.

 

The phone call

I got the call on December 11, 2016: a new heart was available.

I literally think if I hadn’t gotten that phone call, I wouldn’t have made it past Christmas. I was so sick by that time, I could barely walk up two stairs without catching my breath.

I went to the Heart Institute the next day.

I was warned there was a possibility I could die on the table. But I had already been at peace even before I heard a heart was available. Sitting in there in the bed, waiting to be wheeled down to the operating room at the Heart Institute…I was ready. It was either I live or I die.

Thankfully, with help from the Heart Institute, I survived—and thrived.

Recovery

When I woke up, I had a lot of chest discomfort because the surgeons had to break a couple ribs to get in there. It hurt a lot!

But the staff got me up and moving within two days.

And in less than a month, I was able to return home.

It probably took about three months before I could actually move and do stuff. (My wife wouldn’t let me do anything!)

But over time, my health began to improve.

It’s been over a year now, and I continue to go to the Heart Institute for biopsies, which measure how my heart is doing. I used to go for biopsies twice a week for four weeks. Then it was once a week. Then, once a month. Now, it’s every three months.

If all goes well, I won’t have to have another biopsy for six months. And then, I will only have to have one every year.

The Heart Institute has been great in terms of the care I’ve received. I know most of the nurses there—they’ve been great and helped me out a lot. Once, I even received a personal email from one of them, just checking in on me. It’s a great feeling to know that people there actually care about you and want to help you.

I also have to give credit to my wife and mother for their support through all this. To my mom, who never put me in that wheelchair and kept me going. And to my wife, who kept picking me up when I was down. Any time I wanted to give up, she kept picking me up, dusting me off and getting me going. If not for both of them, I don’t think I would be here today.

And of course, I am very grateful to the person whose heart I now have. While I don’t know them, I feel very honoured and thankful for this second chance at life.

 

Back to life

Today, I am feeling 100% better, healthier, and much more energetic.

I no longer have congenital heart disease. No more pacemaker, defibrillator or bad heart. They took out everything, and now I’m normal—for the first time in my life.

Now, I can play sports. I even volunteered this past summer as an assistant coach for my son’s baseball team.

And this past August, I went with my wife, son and parents to Vancouver for a 10-day vacation. That was something I wouldn’t have been able to do within the last four years.

 

Christmas and plans for the new year

I couldn’t wait to spend this Christmas with my son and family. As a personal treat, I even bought myself a ticket to see the Ottawa Senators play an outdoor game at TD Place in mid-December—almost a year to the day that I received my new heart.

As for 2018, I hope to return to the working world—hopefully in some sort of cooking position. My goal is to start six months from now. I’m working on building my strength. I walk my son to school every day, and exercise mostly every day. The last few years, I wasn’t able to do any of that stuff.

Meanwhile, I’m also enjoying waking up every morning to my seven-year-old son jumping on me. All that stuff I went through, I did for him. I love him more than anything in the world.

Message to donors

It doesn’t really matter what kind of donation you make, whether financial or otherwise. But if you’re considering making a donation, I encourage you to give to places like the Ottawa Heart Institute, and to please sign your organ donor card.

You really never know who you’re going to save, but there are people in this world who need your help.

People like me.

 

 

Holiday Messages

When it comes to the Heart Institute, our community is always generous. This holiday season, it  was with words of encouragement to the patients and gratitude to the staff through a Holiday Messages mail program the Foundation promoted in November. Here is a selection of some of  the greetings we received for the patients and staff.

 

Alpha Phi Red Dress Canadian Womens Heart Health Centre Ottawa Heart Institute

Party your heart out: local sorority chapter holds 4th annual Red Dress Gala to raise funds for women’s heart health

There’s more to a red dress than material! Just ask the ladies of Alpha Phi.

Alpha Phi (pronounced “Alpha Fee”) is an international sorority boasting more than 200,000 members, with a presence on more than 170 campuses throughout North America.

The organization has been around since 1872—however, representation in Ottawa is still relatively new.

In fact, it was only three short years ago that Alpha Phi established a chapter at the University of Ottawa.

That chapter is led in part by Chattalie Jayatilaka, VP of Campus Affairs for Alpha Phi Iota Upsilon (the Greek name of the local chapter).

Like most (if not all) sororities, service is a core value for Alpha Phi. As such, chapters regularly host a variety of local service opportunities throughout the year, encouraging members as well as the general public to give back.

Supporting women’s heart health has always been a major focal point for the sorority. It was highlighted as an important cause during Alpha Phi’s first convention in 1946 held in Quebec—when, says Chattalie, the organization decided it needed an international cause they could “give their all to.”

“Right from the beginning, Alpha Phi had the idea of helping to fight a disease that was affecting a majority of women on a large scale.” Interestingly, adds Chattalie, “Even today, we understand that heart disease is the number-one killer of women in North American—but it’s still a huge surprise to people. Everyone seems to think that it’s cancer. And when we talk to people, it’s shocking to us that women have no idea how prevalent it is and how many of us might even be affected.”

As such, Chattalie and her chapter spend a great deal of time throughout the year educating others on campus about women’s heart health, holding blood drives and fundraising bake sales, and promoting heart-healthy activities to their peers.

This year, the Ottawa chapter will also host its fourth annual Red Dress Gala: a fundraising event to support “heart health organizations” including the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation.

The 2017 gala will be held November 11th at the Lago Bar and Grill on Dow’s Lake. Building on the success of other chapters’ galas, Chattalie acknowledges that the local event has certainly grown since its “early days.”

The Alpha Phi Red Dress Gala raised over $1500 in 2016

“This will be our fourth gala,” says Chattalie. “In September 2014 when we first started the chapter, we only had a few members and our goal at that time was to raise $1,000. That first gala was in February 2015—not giving us a lot of time to plan! But we hit our goal. And every year since then, we’ve raised the bar a bit higher each time.”

This year, Alphi Phi Iota Upsilon’s goal is to raise $5,000 toward heart health.

“We have 100 girls this year working on the event, and we’re inviting more than 300 people and tickets are available to the public, so I’m pretty optimistic that our group will do its part to meet our financial goals,” says Chattalie.

Half of the funds raised from the Red Dress Gala will go toward the Heart Institute Foundation to support programs and initiatives at the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre, with the remainder going to the Alpha Phi Foundation’s Heart to Heart Grant. Since 2014, this $100,000 annual grant has been awarded to hospitals and research facilities that are making breakthroughs in better understanding heart attacks, heart disease and strokes in women—specifically its symptoms, treatment and prevention.

In the week leading up to the gala, Alpha Phi Iota Upsilon will man a table on campus to raise money and awareness about women’s heart health, and encourage students to take life-saving classes in CPR skills training.

But that’s not where Alpha Phi’s commitment to the cause ends, says Chattalie: on an international level, the sorority is also known to help its own members.

“Our entire executive goes to an annual conference every year, and one of the girls had heart disease and needed a heart transplant,” she recalls. “Obviously, things are different in the US in terms of health care. Alpha Phi paid for everything for her—all her bills. And now, she’s doing great.”

 

Attend the Red Dress Gala!

The gala is open to anyone who wants to support women’s heart health. Join Chattalie, Alpha Phi, politicians, Heart Institute employees and other community leaders and supporters this November 11th at the 4th annual Red Dress Gala. Tickets are now available for purchase through Eventbrite.com.