Heart health the theme of 14th Give a Little Life campaign

Volunteers take pledges during Give a Little Life Day on December 7, 2018. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

The Victoria Hospital Foundation has announced the theme of its 2019 Give a Little Life Day fundraiser.

This year, the radiothon will be looking to collect $385,000 to purchase new cardiac health equipment for the hospital.

Last year’s fundraiser was expected to be a multi-year project to raise $2.2 million to expand and upgrade the hospital’s neonatal unit. But after several generous donations, including an $800,000 contribution from the Malhotra family, the foundation reached its goal in just six months.

This year’s fundraiser, the 14th annual, has been titled Listen to your Heart, in support of cardiac health. It’s set for Dec. 6, 2019.

‘We all know someone who has suffered a cardiac event,” the hospital foundation said in a press release.

“From full-scale heart failure to a blocked coronary artery, a cardiac emergency is a grave situation and can mean life or death. We need to put the best tools into the hands of our people.”

The three pieces of equipment the foundation is raising money for include a portable digital radiography x-ray machine, telemetry units and two echo ultrasound beds.

The portable x-ray machine can be taken to a patient in a hospital bed or the emergency room. A chest x-ray can show doctors pictures that can help confirm the presence of a valve disorder and province important information about heart conditions.

“Chest X-rays are useful for diagnosing heart failure,” The foundation wrote.

‘it produces immediate images for medical teams to view with zero wait time. Less wait time means quicker treatment plan, less damage to the heart and faster action.”

Telemetry machines are used to help people on their way back to health.

During rehab in the FitLife program, patients wear devices white being monitored by medical teams as they exercise.

“While you walk or run, your blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen levels will be closely watched to ensure that while you exercise your heart, you are safe.”

The echo ultrasound beds are pieces of equipment used by the hospital’s sonographers.

“When you are receiving an ultrasound of your heart, it is important that the patient is comfortable, that the sonographer has access to their patient from all sides for better images and that there are no barriers,” the foundation wrote.

“Better images mean more accurate diagnoses.”

The foundation also shared the story of Shawna Zawerucka. In spring of 2016, Zawerucka, then 47, had some chest pain. Thinking it was heartburn, she took tums, but after a week it worsened.

Zawerucka was diagnosed with a heart attack.

She was cared for and treated in Saskatoon and Prince Albert. After surgery and “participating in the wonderful cardiac rehab program in Prince Albert, 2.5 years later and I am strong and healthy once again,” Zawerucka wrote.

“Heart attacks kill more Canadian women than men. It’s the second leading cause of death in Canada,” she continued.

“I wanted to share my story and help spread awareness in our community. Our hospital does not have a cardiology unit or a cardiologist, but we do have doctors and nurses who are knowledgeable and experienced at diagnosing and stabilizing someone having heart failure. If it wasn’t for the doctors and nurses in the Vic’s ER and ICU, I wouldn’t be here today to see my girls get married and hold my first grandchild someday.”

She urged people to give generously.

“A heart attack can happen to anyone and we need to be ready.”