Leap 2 The Beat fundraiser on February 29 aims to ‘keep your heart here’

Multi-discipline variety show at Showplace on Leap Day raising funds for our regional hospital's Cardiac Catheterization Lab

Circus arts and acrobatics from Trellis Arts and Entertainment (pictured is director and performer Nicole Malbeuf) is one part of the theatrical variety show "Leap 2 The Beat", which takes place on Leap Day (February 29, 2020) at Showplace Performance Centre in downtown Peterborough. The fundraiser for the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Peterborough Regional Health Centre, taking place during Heart Month, will also feature dance routines by the Premiere Studio of Dance and vocal performances by Kate Suhr, Danny Bronson, Ty Wilson, Silver Lining, and Theresa Rowland-McMullen. (Photo: Kaylens Photography / kaylens.ca)
Circus arts and acrobatics from Trellis Arts and Entertainment (pictured is director and performer Nicole Malbeuf) is one part of the theatrical variety show "Leap 2 The Beat", which takes place on Leap Day (February 29, 2020) at Showplace Performance Centre in downtown Peterborough. The fundraiser for the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Peterborough Regional Health Centre, taking place during Heart Month, will also feature dance routines by the Premiere Studio of Dance and vocal performances by Kate Suhr, Danny Bronson, Ty Wilson, Silver Lining, and Theresa Rowland-McMullen. (Photo: Kaylens Photography / kaylens.ca)

Something special typically results when need meets cause.

"Leap 2 The Beat" takes place on Leap Day (February 29, 2020) at Showplace Performance Centre in downtown Peterborough. It is a fundraiser for thePeterborough Regional Health Centre Foundation's 'Keep Your Heart Here' campaign to  replace and upgrade life-saving equipment at the hospital's Cardiac Catheterization Lab. (Poster supplied by Leap 2 The Beat)
“Leap 2 The Beat” takes place on Leap Day (February 29, 2020) at Showplace Performance Centre in downtown Peterborough. It is a fundraiser for thePeterborough Regional Health Centre Foundation’s ‘Keep Your Heart Here’ campaign to replace and upgrade life-saving equipment at the hospital’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab. (Poster supplied by Leap 2 The Beat)

For Theresa Rowland-McMullen, a need to honour her father’s battle with heart disease — combined with her desire to bring together entertainers from various disciplines — has resulted in her organizing Leap 2 The Beat, a fundraising extravaganna in support of cardiac care at Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC).

The aptly named event is set for Leap Day — Saturday, February 29th — beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Showplace Performance Centre in downtown Peterborough. The theatrical variety show will feature circus arts and acrobatics by Trellis Arts and Entertainment, dance routines by the Premiere Studio of Dance, and vocal performances by Kate Suhr, Danny Bronson, Ty Wilson, Silver Lining, and Rowland-McMullen herself.

Tickets cost $34, with a discounted cost for seniors and students, and are available in person at the Showplace box office (290 George St. N., Peterborough), by phone at 705-742-7469, and online at www.showplace.org.

The cause part of the equation revealed itself when Rowland-McMullen phoned the PRHC Foundation. She subsequently learned our regional hospital has identified the replacement of technology at its Cardiac Catheterization Lab (Cath Lab) as a pressing priority. To that end, PRHC Foundation has set a goal of raising $3.55 million over the next 18 months.

“This event is already creating a lot of awareness,” says PRHC Foundation president and CEO Lesley Heighway, noting government funding is available for hospital’s operational costs but not for equipment expenditures. “We’re thrilled Theresa has stepped forward with this really unique offering.”

According to Heighway, the two suites of PRHC’s Cath Lab performed 2,170 cardiac procedures in 2018-19 — with 213 of those procedures performed while the patient was actually having a heart attack.

Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Warren Ball (left) and members of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab team (Terri Matzke, Kate Graham, and Jeff Dunlop) at Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC). The Leap 2 The Beat event on February 29, 2020 at Showplace Peformance Centre is raising funds for the PRHC Foundation's "Keep your heart here" campaign to replace and upgrade life-saving equipment at PRHC's Cath Lab. (Photo courtesy of PRHC Foundation)
Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Warren Ball (left) and members of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab team (Terri Matzke, Kate Graham, and Jeff Dunlop) at Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC). The Leap 2 The Beat event on February 29, 2020 at Showplace Peformance Centre is raising funds for the PRHC Foundation’s “Keep your heart here” campaign to replace and upgrade life-saving equipment at PRHC’s Cath Lab. (Photo courtesy of PRHC Foundation)

“When equipment reaches the eight to 10 year timeline, it has really run its course,” explains Heighway, pointing out that PRHC’s Cath Lab is now more than 11 years old.

“The new technology that’s out there offers better visualization. The interventional cardiologist, who is doing the testing or inserting the stents, is looking at his work on a computer monitor to see if he’s working in the right place. The better visuals those physicians have access to, the more accurate they can be in their work.”

“The other big piece is a reduction in radiation exposure.With every new form of the technology, there’s a reduction in radiation exposure for the patient and for the staff in the Cath Lab. For longer cardiac procedures, where multiple stents have to be placed, you get to the point where radiation exposure becomes a concern and they have to stop the procedure. The reduction in radiation exposure that comes with the new technology is such a benefit to the patient and the medical professionals.”

Leap 2 The Beat organizer and performer Theresa Rowland-McMullen, who watched her father suffer through numerous heart complications and undergo many life-threatening cardiovascular procedures. When the PRHC Cath Lab was constructed in 2009, he was finally able to have some work done locally which made a world of difference to him and his family. (Photo: David Leyes / www.davidleyes.com)
Leap 2 The Beat organizer and performer Theresa Rowland-McMullen, who watched her father suffer through numerous heart complications and undergo many life-threatening cardiovascular procedures. When the PRHC Cath Lab was constructed in 2009, he was finally able to have some work done locally which made a world of difference to him and his family. (Photo: David Leyes / www.davidleyes.com)

Heighway adds that events that benefit the foundation, and by extension PRHC, are crucial to spreading the word about how donations for state-of-the-art equipment at the hospital actually save lives.

“People need to know that heart attacks are stopped in their tracks and lives are saved here every single day because of donor investment,” says Heighway, who has headed up the foundation for eight years now. “People’s personal experiences are so important.”

Danny Bronson is one of the performers at Leap 2 The Beat, a fundraiser on February 29, 2020 at Showplace Performance Centre in downtown Peterborough for the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Peterborough Regional Health Centre.  (Photo: Laszlo Prising / laszloprisingphoto.com)
Danny Bronson is one of the performers at Leap 2 The Beat, a fundraiser on February 29, 2020 at Showplace Performance Centre in downtown Peterborough for the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Peterborough Regional Health Centre. (Photo: Laszlo Prising / laszloprisingphoto.com)

Rowland-McMullen certainly knows all about that. Her dad has had two quadruple bypasses, the first at age 34. Having access to Cath Lab services locally is huge, she says.

“My parents both worked full-time raising four children, the youngest a toddler at the time. Can you imagine being a parent and having to go to Toronto and have someone take care of four kids?”

Heighway notes there’s significance behind the Cath Lab fundraising campaign’s tag line, ‘Keep Your Heart Here’.

“If not for the Cath Labs, every patient who requires cardiac stents or TEE would be travelling,” Heighway explains, with TEE referring to Transesophageal Echocardiography, a test that uses ultrasound to make detailed pictures of the heart and its arteries.

“There was a time when that was happening, when all we did at PRHC was the diagnostic piece. We’d do an angiogram and, if the patient needed any further cardiac care, they were travelling somewhere else. Now all those patients are receiving care here. Keep Your Heart Here means exactly that — let’s keep this level of cardiac care here, and bring the next level here.”

Kate Suhr is one of the performers at Leap 2 The Beat, a fundraiser on February 29, 2020 at Showplace Performance Centre in downtown Peterborough for the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Peterborough Regional Health Centre. (Photo: Jennifer Moher / www.jennifermoher.com)
Kate Suhr is one of the performers at Leap 2 The Beat, a fundraiser on February 29, 2020 at Showplace Performance Centre in downtown Peterborough for the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Peterborough Regional Health Centre. (Photo: Jennifer Moher / www.jennifermoher.com)

Heighway references PRHC interventional cardiologist Dr. Warren Ball’s well-quoted mantra, “time is muscle”.

“Heart cells start to die as soon as a heart attack begins, so the sooner the patient can be treated the better,” she says. “With the partnership PRHC has with EMS, we have patients coming from Northumberland, Lindsay, Haliburton and Minden, and Campbellford. When EMS diagnoses someone having a heart attack, they trip the system and make the call. They go right to the Cath Lab where the team is waiting.”

For her part, Rowland-McMullen, who is theatrically trained, says she is excited to stage what will be “a great evening of entertainment”.

Ty Wilson is one of the performers at Leap 2 The Beat, a fundraiser on February 29, 2020 at Showplace Performance Centre in downtown Peterborough for the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Peterborough Regional Health Centre. (Photo: Jenn Austin Driver / jennaustindriver.com)
Ty Wilson is one of the performers at Leap 2 The Beat, a fundraiser on February 29, 2020 at Showplace Performance Centre in downtown Peterborough for the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Peterborough Regional Health Centre. (Photo: Jenn Austin Driver / jennaustindriver.com)

“It’s an opportunity for the community to come together and realize that heart disease touches not just one type of person,” she says, noting that February is Heart Month, a time to bring attention to the importance of cardiovascular health and what we can to reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease.

“I’d really like to bring that to the table for others,” she adds. “Every single one of the performers has someone in their family that has been affected by heart problems or stroke. It’s meaningful for all of us to be on the stage.”

Meanwhile, Heighway says she’s confident that donors will step forward once again to ensure PRHC continues to be able to provide first-rate care for cardiac patients.

Silver Lining is one of the performers at Leap 2 The Beat, a fundraiser on February 29, 2020 at Showplace Performance Centre in downtown Peterborough for the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Peterborough Regional Health Centre. (Photo: Scott Walsh Photography / www.scottwwalshphotography.com)
Silver Lining is one of the performers at Leap 2 The Beat, a fundraiser on February 29, 2020 at Showplace Performance Centre in downtown Peterborough for the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Peterborough Regional Health Centre. (Photo: Scott Walsh Photography / www.scottwwalshphotography.com)

“The Cath Lab is entirely donor funded and we have made so many advancements in cardiac care over the last five years,” she explains. “Donors have very generously stepped forward to make that possible. We have physicians here that we would never have here if the community hadn’t stepped forward to bring those new procedures here.”

“Truly the best hospitals are found in the most generous communities. We’re working really hard to ensure world-class care continues be the standard here and that it’s available close to home. Our donors are the bedrock of all of that.”

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Paul Rellinger
Paul Rellinger a.k.a Relly is an award-winning journalist and longtime former newspaper editor still searching for the perfect lead. When he's not putting pen to paper, Paul is on a sincere but woefully futile quest to own every postage stamp ever issued. A rabid reader of history, Paul claims to know who killed JFK but can't say out of fear for the safety of his oh so supportive wife Mary, his three wonderful kids and his three spirited grandchildren. Paul counts among his passions Peterborough's rich live music scene, the Toronto Maple Leafs, slopitch and retrieving golf balls from the woods. You can follow Paul on Twitter at @rellywrites.

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