WHAT: A wall of people who have very personal experiences with heart disease will mark the starting line at the annual American Heart Association's Start! Heart and Stroke Walk. Some walk with new hearts, some with ventricular assist devices that will keep them going until a donor heart is found, while others may have survived less harrowing circumstances, but all have one thing in common: They have benefited from the continuum of cardiac care, research discoveries and clinical innovations at Oregon Health & Science University.
WHERE: Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade, Portland
WHEN: Saturday, May 16, 8:30 a.m.
PROFILES OF A FEW OHSU PATIENTS WHO WILL BE PARTICIPATING:
Don Golden, now in his seventies, is a two-time heart recipient. After his transplants at OHSU he went on to run in the Portland marathon and later participated in the Senior Olympics in Pittsburgh in 2005, 2006 and 2008. His caregivers at OHSU had challenged him to prove to himself what his new healthy heart could do, and he's still taking the challenge.
Rob McKeraghan is "running on batteries," as he likes to say, while waiting for a donor heart. Since having a ventricular assist device installed last year to keep him alive, he's been exercising and has lost almost 100 pounds. Rob has cardiomyopathy, the same disease that led his father to undergo heart transplantation at OHSU. Rob's grandfather died of heart disease at an early age and the family wonders if he, too, had cardiomyopathy. With Rob's brothers, nieces and nephews all susceptible to this hereditary disease, it's a family affair for the McKeraghan's during Saturday's walk.
Carole McLaughlin recently was contacted by her heart donor's family. She has spent countless hours with patients in the hospital awaiting a donor heart. She also speaks about the importance of organ donation before groups and at every opportunity that presents itself.
About the OHSU Heart Transplant Program
OHSU has performed more than 500 heart transplants since 1985, achieving outcomes that are among the best in the country. A dozen OHSU patients have passed the 20-year survival mark, joining the fraternity of the world's longest surviving heart transplant recipients. OHSU is the only hospital in Oregon and one of only six on the West Coast that is certified by Medicare to offer heart transplants.
Oregon Health & Science University is the state's only health and research university, and Oregon's only academic health center. OHSU is Portland's largest employer and the fourth largest in Oregon (excluding government). OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support activities not found anywhere else in the state. It serves patients from every corner of the state, and is a conduit for learning for more than 3,400 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to every county in the state.