Friends of the Heart Institute started with a good idea and modest goal of soliciting $100 annual gifts to support the heart program at Doylestown Hospital in 1978. Since then, the all-volunteer organization raised more than $2 million to promote heart health and healing for Doylestown Health's Richard A. Reif Heart Institute.
Their hard work and tireless efforts earned the Friends recognition on a national scale.
The American Hospital Association recently honored Friends of the Heart Institute with one of four national awards, and the only one for fundraising excellence. Sara and Scott Moyer, co-chairs, accepted the Hospital Award for Volunteer Excellent (HAVE) on May 8 in Washington, D.C. during the AHA's annual meeting.
"It was an honor to be recognized and receive the national award for Fundraising along with the other three national winners. Their stories were also amazing!" Sara Moyer said after returning from Washington, D.C. "The audience seemed truly impressed at the accomplishments of Friends of the Heart over the years in raising funds and improving healthcare for our community."
In the audience for the awards ceremony were many members of the committees who worked to select the recipients of the 2017 awards. "They said the competition was particularly fierce this year with so many good candidates," notes Sara.
Throughout the years, Friends of the Heart Institute continues to make a lasting impact on cardiovascular care in the community. Fundraising and special events have complemented the non-profit hospital's investment in a heart and vascular program that consistently ranks among the best in the nation.
Friends has helped to purchase state-of-the-art medical and surgical equipment, patient-friendly exercise equipment used for cardiac rehabilitation, and supported staff training and continuing education for the cardiac and vascular clinical teams. Friends of the Heart Institute also focuses on community health and well-being by funding a local chapter of the national Walk With A Doc exercise program that encourages physical activity and community camaraderie every month.
Friends of the Heart Institute is comprised of dedicated community members and caregivers committed to ensuring patients and their loved ones have access to the very best care close to home.
"Community support is critical to Doylestown Health's pursuit of excellence in health care," said Jim Brexler, President and CEO of Doylestown Health. "The ongoing commitment by our founders, the Village Improvement Association of Doylestown, and the robust support of Friends of the Heart Institute and many other volunteers and donors, makes our non-profit community health system the award-winning advocate for health and wellness that it is today."
Last year alone, Friends allocated more than $180,000 for equipment such as temporary pacemakers that are used for open-heart patients following surgery; an upgraded Holter monitor system that records heart rhythms using new technology; and surgical devices utilized by Heart Institute surgeons to perform complex minimally-invasive procedures.
"The award from the American Hospital Association validates what we already know about Friends – they are peerless in their commitment to raising funds and improving cardiovascular services in our community," said Eleanor Wilson, Vice President, Clinical Services and Executive Director of the Heart Institute, and a Friends Steering Committee member.
The AHA HAVE Awards Program is in its 34th year and highlights the extraordinary efforts of volunteers and volunteer programs and the positive impact their contributions have on the patients, hospitals, health systems and communities they serve.
Friends of the Heart Institute raises funds through annual memberships, with 54 Lifetime members and about 250 annual members. Funds are also raised through donations and special fundraising events like the popular spring Heart Brunch and the always-fun Cardiac Cook-Off, which pits teams of cardiologists and local top chefs against each other in a heart-healthy friendly competition.
As for the future, the Friends recently made a $1 million commitment to the expansion of the Heart Institute, including a new patient-centered, state-of-the-art facility to meet the growing demand for advanced heart and vascular services in our community.
Visit Friends of the Heart website for more information.
About Doylestown Health's Heart & Vascular Services
Expert cardiologists and cardiac surgeons assist patients and physicians with managing risk factors for heart disease, offer advanced treatment options and provide outstanding emergency cardiac care. Doylestown Hospital’s accredited Chest Pain Center is fully prepared to treat cardiac emergencies around the clock, focusing on rapid diagnosis and effective treatment. The multidisciplinary team at the Woodall Center for Heart and Vascular Care is dedicated to providing the highest level of quality care and patient safety.