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Heart Luncheon sets records
The Olympic Medical Center Foundation’s Red, Set, Go Heart Luncheon presented by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe set record fundraising totals Friday, as over 270 people gathered to learn how to prevent heart disease.
Held at Vern Burton Community Center in Port Angeles, the event raised its highest net total ever — over $52,000.
“We sold a record amount of corporate sponsorships, had a record attendance, and most importantly, raised more money than ever for Olympic Medical Center’s cardiac facilities in Sequim and Port Angeles,” said Executive Director Bruce Skinner.
“Because of our sponsors, 100 percent of all money raised at the luncheon itself will go to the hospital,” said OMCF President Karen Rogers.
“In the past we have been able to provide funds for equipment that has saved people’s lives and we want to continue to do that.” Money raised this year will go toward the purchase of two treadmills for the hospital.
Special honorees at the event were Jen Gouge, who recently retired as the medical assistant coordinator for Peninsula College, and Port Angeles resident Betty Wendel, who delivered the event’s annual heart disease “survivor” story.
Gouge served in her position at the college for 17 years and trained many professionals that are treating patients at Olympic Medical Center and other health care institutions today. It is also one of the few areas where students can earn four-year degrees at the college.
She instigated many courses, including two programs — infectious diseases and geriatrics. “Because we have large population of people over 65 in Clallam County, I thought this was a real necessity to have geriatric course work at the college,” said Gouge. “Even more importantly, I thought we had to educate students about abuse of the elderly, which is so rampant. We need to put a stop to that.”
She was so respected in her field that twice she was invited to present papers on the social consequences of aging at Oxford University in England, one of the leading institutions of higher learning in the world.
The educational lunch promotes that the key to eradicating this disease is education. “The purpose of our event is to inspire women to become more educated to improve their heart health. Many women are surprised to learn that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women,” said Rogers.
The keynote speaker for this year’s event was Dr. Samuel Youssef, a Swedish Hospital cardiac surgeon with specialization in robotic cardiac surgery. He urged the audience to do the things necessary to prevent the disease and to be aware of symptoms.