More than 250 guests will switch venues this year and gather together at Wrigley Field on Wednesday September 6th to celebrate Advocate Heart Institute’s Annual Transplant Reunion and Celebration, hosted by Advocate Health Care.
Advocate Christ Medical Center patients who have received either a heart transplant, kidney transplant, lung transplant or a heart pump/ventricular assist device (VAD) will be in attendance, along with their families, to celebrate their second chance at life. Additionally, Advocate cardiothoracic surgeons, kidney transplant surgeons, cardiologists, pulmonologists, nephrologists, nurses and ancillary staff will be present. The gathering is the largest of its kind in the Chicagoland area.
While this event has been held in years past at the Oak Lawn Hilton during the holiday season, this year the Advocate Heart Institute is celebrating with patients and families at Wrigley Field.
“Seeing everyone all in one spot is pretty amazing. To see patients that were so sick now living good lives is a wonderful gift,” says Gina Roache, Executive Director of the Advocate Heart Institute at Christ Medical Center.
“We look forward to celebrating our patients’ lives and giving them the opportunity to tour Wrigley Field, a place of so much celebration with the Cubs 2016 World Series Championship,” said Dr. Pat Pappas, Medical Director, Advocate Heart Institute at Christ Medical Center.
The Advocate Heart Institute at Christ Medical Center performs more than 1,300 open heart surgeries and 5,000 cardiac interventions each year.
Below are just a couple stories of patients who will be attending.
Nicole Brown: In February 2013, Nicole received a new heart at just 34-years-old. Prior to her heart issues and subsequent transplant, she was living a healthy and active life when she suddenly became ill with endocarditis, an infection of the heart. The infection quickly took over her body, and she was implanted with a biventricular assist device (BiVad) as a bridge to transplant until she received the news that a matched heart was available. Since her transplant more than four years ago, Nicole has become heavily involved in Advocate Christ’s post-transplant support group and delivers gifts to staff and pediatric patients multiple times a year.
Gwendolyn Westlund: At only 34 years old, Gwendolyn is both a cancer survivor and heart transplant recipient. Five years after beating Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Gwendolyn was diagnosed with congestive heart failure due to mitral valve prolapse. Her conditioned worsened and she received a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) and a temporary external right ventricular assist device (RVAD), eventually receiving a call in late October 2013 that a donor’s heart had been found for her. Today, Westlund now spends her time paying it forward by participating in cancer walks, by mentoring other transplant patients and their families and organizing community events that promote organ, blood and tissue donations. She also found a friend in fellow transplant patient Nicole Brown, and they both visit the hospital to give back together.
Advocate Christ Medical Center is part of Advocate Health Care, which is one of the nation’s leading health care networks. A not-for-profit, 749-bed, premier teaching institution with more than 1,400 affiliated physicians, Christ Medical Center is a leader in health care and one of the major referral hospitals in the Midwest in a number of specialties, including cardiovascular services, heart, kidney and lung transplantation, neurosciences, oncology, orthopedics and women’s health. The hospital also has one of the busiest Level I trauma centers in Illinois providing emergency care for more than 100,000 patient visits annually and is a leader in breakthrough technologies, including eICU® (electronic intensive care unit) monitoring, robotic da Vinci Surgery System® and CyberKnife® Radiosurgery. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the medical center among the nation’s leading providers for cardiology & heart surgery and diabetes & endocrinology and rated it overall as being among the top four hospitals in Illinois. The hospital is also recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) as a Magnet Center. Magnet status represents the highest honor in the nursing profession. To obtain more information or to visit our newsroom, log on to: www.advocatehealth.com/cmc-newsroom