Members of the medical community celebrated the launch of the Cayman Heart Fund at a Government House reception last week, with organisers promising an assault on heart disease, the leading cause of death in the Cayman Islands.
The new organisation wants to increase public awareness about heart disease and attract funding that will allow it to buy, or help others buy, diagnostic and screening tools to catch heart disease before it causes disability or death.
‘We have a long list of goals,’ explained the fund’s treasurer, Theresa Foster. ‘But basically it’s all about increasing awareness; creating a healthier lifestyle; reducing smoking; reducing people’s body fat. We would like to reduce the prevalence of trans fats here too.’
She said reducing childhood obesity will also be a key focus. ‘That is a very, very large problem worldwide and we want to target that locally.’
The fund’s patron, Governor Stuart Jack, said he is honoured to be involved in the new organisation. He explained his father had a massive heart attack many years ago, but, due to the quick intervention of a GP, managed to live another 40 years.
The importance of early intervention cannot be underestimated when it comes to heart disease, he emphasised. ‘Catch it early; do the right thing and we can get over this disease just like we can now overcome many kinds of cancer.’
A particular priority for Mr. Jack is increasing the number of businesses and government departments that have defibrillators, with people trained to use them. He also applauded plans to have more people in workplaces trained in CPR.
Board Chair Suzy Soto told the crowd the fund is off to a good start financially, after a $20,000 donation from Butterfield Bank. The money will go towards hosting a heart fair in the coming months and the purchase of a medical treadmill, she said.
Health Minister Anthony Eden also spoke at the reception, saying the Cayman Heart Fund is a great example of what can be achieved when private residents come together for the betterment of the community.
Board members of the fund are Suzy Soto, Dr. Shirley Cridland, Dr. Sook Yin, Theresa Foster, Teri Quappe and Kevin Doyle.
To contact the Cayman Heart Fund, call 928-2366.