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Emanuel Annual Giving Campaign for Cardiovascular Services Kicks Off

Turlock, CA- A record number of volunteers and a $500,000 challenge gift have hearts beating a little faster at Emanuel Medical Center as the hospital's yearly Legacy Circle annual giving campaign kicks off.

"People are very excited," said Shirley Pok, Emanuel's vice president of development. "We have a record number of volunteers and the early indications in the community are all very strong."

One reason for the community support is the fundraising focus: this year's campaign begins a five-year effort to bring state-of-the-art cardiac care to Turlock for the very first time. The campaign theme is "Let Your Heart Build the Way."

"This is something we've been working toward for a number of years," explained Emanuel President and CEO John Sigsbury. "We've been recruiting top cardiologists and investing in advanced technology to begin providing cardiovascular services this spring. Legacy Circle will now help us expand and enhance those services over the next several years."

Helping the campaign meet its goal of raising $1 million a year is a $500,000 gift challenge by Jeani and John Ferrari of Turlock. If the community raises $1 million during the first year, the Ferraris have pledged to donate a half-million more.

"The Ferrari challenge allows us the whole year to raise the money," Pok said, "but our volunteers are committed to do it within the six-week active campaign."

Jeani Ferrari, who volunteers at the Emanuel Cancer Center, says she finds donating to a good cause a joyful experience.

"I think a giver's enthusiasm affects people, they then have the opportunity to experience the same joy we're experiencing," she said. "Giving to such a good cause makes you feel like a hero."

Legacy Circle is built on a team concept, with groups of employee and community volunteers competing to see who can raise the most money. The six-week campaign launched August 26, with more than 340 hospital employee and community volunteers committed to the fund drive goal.

And while there are many events and activities for the volunteers to participate in, it's much easier for donors, Pok said.

"All people have to do is call our office at 664-5180," she said.

Legacy Circle memberships begin at $100 a year, and that can be given all at once, in installments, or put on a credit card.

"What Legacy Circle allows us to do is do more than any individual can do themselves," Pok said. "We take all these individual gifts and unite them into something that truly makes a difference in our community."

This 2010 Legacy Circle campaign will bring advanced cardiac care to Turlock to save lives and help people get back to their families and the activities they love.

Emanuel has already begun those services and recruited top medical talent to Turlock and invested in state-of-the-art technology - like its Cardiac Cath & Interventional Lab.

"While the focus of Legacy Circle is heart care, people should know that these services also benefit many other patients," explained Dr. Harold Tabaie, Emanuel's medical director of cardiothoracic and vascular surgery. "We're already doing advanced video-assisted and endovascular procedures that were never done in this community before. These are much less invasive procedures than traditional surgical techniques, and patients are able to go home in 24 to 36 hours rather than two weeks."

Emanuel is building its cardiovascular program in stages, first with the Cardiac Cath & Interventional Lab that opened in April, then with an upgraded cardiac operating room so open-heart surgery can begin by next spring, then building two state-of-the-art cardiac operating suites to open in late 2012. The final vision for the project is to develop a dedicated space to consolidate all of Emanuel's cardiovascular services.

Earlier campaigns have helped build the Mary Stuart Rogers Birthing Center, the Critical Care Center and create the $4.3 million Emanuel Cancer Endowment. At the hospital's annual Chairman's Appreciation Dinner on September 2, officials announced that the endowment was being renamed the Bill and Elsie Alhem Cancer Endowment. 

The new name honors the legacy of the late Bill and Elsie Alhem and the generosity of the Alhem family who donated $1 million to last year's campaign. 

To donate to Legacy Circle, call 209-664-5180 or visit

Emanuel Medical Center is a not-for-profit, community-based Christian hospital. Its 415-bed multi-level medical campus includes a 209-bed acute care hospital, a 145-bed skilled nursing facility and a 49-bed assisted living facility. It provides emergency, critical care, pediatric, medical and surgical services, cardiology, cancer diagnosis and treatment services, women's health services, and hospice services.

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Turlock, CA 95382
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