Times-Herald (Vallejo)

NorthBay needs help to save lives


NorthBay Health Foundation has just the way to celebrate the people you love this month: A donation in their name to NorthBay Heart & Vascular.

All donations are welcome, but for those of $100 or more, a special valentine card with chocolates will be sent to your loved one.

“Not only will you create a legacy for your loved one, but you will also help our team of cardiac experts save lives for years to come,” said Paul McGinty, president of NorthBay Health Foundation, in a press statement.

His Foundation team and Board of Directors have taken on a significan­t challenge: To raise $12 million as soon as possible to update and upgrade two aging catheteriz­ation labs at NorthBay Health Medical Center.

The need is critical, said McGinty, noting that heart disease is not only the No. 1 cause of deaths for both men and women in the United States, it's the No. 1 killer right here at home. Each year more than 900 people in Solano County die from heart disease.

NorthBay first started offering catheteriz­ation services in 1992. The equipment was upgraded in 2009, when the NorthBay Heart & Vascular Center opened, bringing together highly skilled surgeons and clinical staff, equipment and advanced procedures such as open heart surgery.

A second lab was added in 2013, to keep up with the volume of cases. In the years that followed, the Heart & Vascular team has added myriad complex procedures focused on helping patients not only survive cardiac events but regain quality of life.

“Our team and our procedures have gotten more and more advanced,” explained Kim Williams, R.N., senior director of cardiovasc­ular service, in the statement, “but the equipment we're using is still the same.

“Imagine using the same smart phone that you purchased in 2009. Sure, you can make a call, but very few people would be willing to use a 13-year-old phone. The new equipment will be much more precise, efficient and reliable.”

Interventi­onal Cardiologi­st Dr. Mark Villalon agreed. He has joined the Foundation's newly formed nine-member board to lend his expertise and support.

“Just like hearts, medical equipment has a lifespan, and our first cath lab's equipment is about to expire,” he said. “At the same time, the communitie­s we serve have continued to grow. That translates into more and more patients in need of lifesaving procedures.”

Ultimately, the team hopes to add a third lab but for now, the focus is on keeping the two current labs maintained, because there is no room for down time. As it is, patients sometimes have to wait for an opening to have critical procedures performed.

“Imagine getting a diagnosis — being told you needed a life-saving procedure … and then having to wait a month or longer because of the backlog,” said Villalon. “It's just not right to make patients wait for life-saving care. That's why we need to start this project today.”

NorthBay Health has set aside $18 million for the project, but it needs a $12 million philanthro­pic boost to make the project a reality.

“We're looking to the community to help us accomplish this task. That's why we've decided to `Start with Heart,' for 2023,” McGinty said. So far, the Foundation's “Start with Heart” campaign has raised some $700,000.

“We're eager to connect with individual­s, families and community groups that can help us make this happen,” McGinty said. “We have a fabulous opportunit­y for them to make their mark by helping drive this project forward. We invite them to donate to honor a loved one, or leave their own legacy and make a difference in the lives of hundreds people — their friends and neighbors.”

To donate $100 or more and send a “Start With Heart” valentine to a loved one, visit https://www.northbay.org/foundation/donate/index.cfm. Then select START WITH HEART VALENTINE in the Fund pull-down menu. At the bottom, select Tribute Gift to tell us where to send the valentine.

The Foundation has a wealth of informatio­n and resources, including a video, a brochure and a white-paper. Visit: NorthBay.org/Foundation, email NorthBay.org/Fundraisin­g or call 646-3138.

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