Support for heart machine sought from 100 businesses

Support for heart machine sought from 100 businesses

Small businesses are being asked to put their hands in their pockets to help save Taranaki hearts.

In the next 100 days the We Heart Taranaki Campaign hopes to raise more than $200,000 from 100 small businesses.

The campaign, run by the Taranaki Health Foundation, is raising $1.2m for a new angiography suite for Taranaki Base Hospital.

Angiography  is an X-ray technique to visualise the inside of blood vessels.

The current machine is on its last legs and a new machine plus the rest of the equipment for an angiography suite will cost about $3.6 million.

The Taranaki District Health Board and the Taranaki Electricity Trust have each pledged $1.2m and the Taranaki Health Foundation has so far raised $730,000 of the remaining $1.2m.

The Foundation aims to raise the rest before Christmas, general manager Bry Kopu said.

The 100 businesses in 100 days part of the fundraising campaign was launched on Friday night at Auto City Prestige Motors, in New Plymouth, which was the first business to come on board with a donation of $5000.

Kopu will be calling on small businesses all over the region, hoping for donations of $1000 or $2000, she said.

"When I approached businesses everyone was 100 per cent supportive but because they were suffering a little bit because of the economy it was harder to get businesses to sign up. So by lowering the entry levels for businesses it will make it made it easier for then to show their support."

The support from the community has been great, with more than $150,000 being raised from small donations from the public, she said.

"We get phone calls and nice little letters every day from people thrilled this is going to happen."

The fundraising will not only provide the new machine but also a specially designed operating room - where both diagnostic tests and treatment procedures will be done.   

The current machine is obsolete and can no longer be serviced. This is in a context of heart disease being our region's biggest killer – higher than any cancer. There are 41,000 people are at risk of heart related diseases living in Taranaki. 

Within one year of having the suite installed, the cardiology team should be able to perform Stent and pacemaker insertions, treating 90 per cent of Taranaki patients and reducing the number of people having to travel to Waikato for treatment.