As Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre’s (RVH) Simcoe-Muskoka Regional Heart Program approaches a milestone in angiogram procedures, Bell Media donated more than $54,000 to the cardiac centre, which was the result of an early summer Radio for Cardiology radiothon.

“KICX 106 and 104.1 The Dock are absolutely thrilled with the results from our 2018 radiothon,” said Mora Austin, Bell Media Central Ontario general manager. “The generosity of the residents of Simcoe County and Muskoka never ceases to amaze us.”

Austin added they are thankful to those who were kind enough to share their personal stories of both heartache and triumph during the radiothon, as they are the ones able to communicate the need better than anyone.

RVH opened the heart program in January 2018 to provide angiograms, a test to detect blockages in the heart arteries, to residents from across the region. Until now, North Simcoe Muskoka was the only region in the province without an advanced cardiac centre, meaning 3,600 heart patients travelled to centres outside the region for heart procedures every year.

“Next week, RVH will perform its 500th angiogram, which means that 500 area residents have been able to get care closer to their homes,” says Janice Skot, RVH president and CEO. “It has been through the support of the community and organizations like Bell Media, through the Radio for Cardiology campaign, that has helped us achieve this significant milestone and we look forward to a continued partnership and support as we introduce angioplasty procedures in the fall.”

The program will give patients access to faster treatment, a shorter hospital stay and less travel time. But, not all cardiac services will be available to all patients right away. RVH has always planned for a cautious, phased ramp-up of the complex cardiac services to ensure patients throughout the region receive safe, high-quality care. Complex cases will continue to be referred to other cardiac centres and, this fall, RVH will expand its cardiac services to include angioplasty, a non-surgical procedure that uses a thin flexible tube with a tiny inflatable balloon to open up a clogged heart artery.

The Radio for Cardiology campaign has raised more than $858,000 for the RVH Simcoe-Muskoka Regional Heart Program since it was launched, as part of a million-dollar pledge to help bring cardiac treatment closer to home.

Photo: Members of the Bell Media team delivered a donation to the new RVH Simcoe Muskoka Regional Heart Program, which was a result of its recent radiothon. In the front, from the left, are Janice Skot, RVH president and CEO; Mora Austin, Bell Media Central Ontario general manager; and Bell Media representative Sue Bazinet. In the back, Bell Media’s Karen Hopkins; Selma Mitchell, RVH cardiovascular program operations director; and Bell Media’s Linda Young; Ted Roop and Anita Cenerini. Kelly Pottage photo