Local Mended Hearts Chapter Receives National Recognition
Stevens, Syndey. (2015). Local Mended Hearts chapter receives national
recognition. Retrieved from: The Gaston Gazette.
A group that helps people coping with heart issues has brought home a national
award for CaroMont Health and Gaston County.
The Mended Hearts Chapter of Gastonia was recently awarded the 2015 Mended
Hearts Hospital of the Year Award.
This is a major accomplishment for the chapter started just four years
ago, supporters say, as more than 600 hospitals are a part of the organization.
Jake Gray, president, along with Susan Murphy, manager of CaroMont Cardiac
Rehab, received the award on behalf of the chapter.
Chapter 379 includes more than 100 volunteers who visit heart patients
daily. The majority of the volunteers are heart patients, many of whom
have survived heart attacks. This allows for the volunteers to relay hope
to the patients because of their similar experiences.
“We are our own support network because we are heart patients too,”
Before the chapter existed, hospital staff saw the need for additional
support for patients, so they took the steps to start a Mended Hearts chapter.
Murphy and Gray became friends during his road to recovery at the rehabilitation
center after undergoing bypass surgery.
After a few weeks, she asked Gray if he would be interested in becoming
president of the budding chapter. Gray said it was hard to say no to Murphy,
as all of the cardiac patients are very fond of the rehab staff and appreciative
of their patience and support.
The chapter quickly began its work. In the beginning, there were few volunteers
and the group would visit patients once a week. This changed as more people
began to see the large impact the organization has on heart patients.
“When I started out visiting, we had few visitors [volunteers] and
I visited every Wednesday,” Gray said. “I would have between
one to four patients to see; we now have as many as 18 to 20 patients
in a day to visit. It is because we have expanded our role to include
all types of heart patients. We have found more and more ways to make
sure we can help more people.”
Visitors hand HeartPacks with information on heart procedures, recovery
suggestions, rehab benefits and caregiver guidelines.
The chapter now has signed up more than 125 people to receive visits and
has 60 accredited visitors. Visits are now made six times a week, and
are dispersed so that each member makes two visits a month. The chapter
was able to log 1,921 visits in 2014.
“They have done all of this in four years,” Murphy said. “We
have a vice president, a president, treasurer, public relations; a lot
of good people take this seriously.”
They spread awareness through a monthly newsletter that includes a heart-healthy
recipe, a feature story on a heart patient, visiting reports, chapter
events and ways to get involved. The newsletter is distributed to each
floor of the hospital and each CaroMont facility in Gaston County.
The members of this organization have also contributed to helping nursing
students at Gaston College by setting up a scholarship for those in financial
need. The scholarship was recently named the Gary A. Mims scholarship,
and in the past has been awarded to eight students each year. This year,
the chapter has raised more than $19,000 and will be able to award 15
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