Cayman Heart Fund’s first ever gala dinner takes place on, when else, but Valentine’s Day, Saturday 14 February, at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. Business Editor, Lindsey Turnbull speaks with CHF founder Suzy Soto and its Medical Director Dr Sook Yin to see how far the Fund has come in its first year of in ception.
Billed as a night of great food and dancing, short on speeches with no fund-raising, other than a (very) silent auction, the first ever Cayman Heart Fund’s Red Dress Valentine’s Gala Dinner is set to wow event-goers and help raise awareness and funds for an incredibly worthy cause.
This new event is designed strictly for fun to thank all CHF supporters who assisted in getting the operation off the ground, as well as to create greater awareness for the work of the CHF.
CHF Chairman, Suzy Soto says, “In our first year of operations, with the greatest of thanks for your support, the Cayman Heart Fund has truly made a positive and worthwhile impact in the lives and health of many people in Cayman. We will continue expanding on our work in 2009, with the launch of a number of new initiatives in the community.”
Suzy’s involvement with a fund dedicated to eradicating heart disease began some years ago. In 2003, after living with low blood pressure and a very low pulse for many years, she had to be air ambulanced off the island and fitted with a pacemaker. “It worked like a charm,” she says.
Unfortunately Suzy developed sharp chest pains soon after (“Two weeks later I went picking tamarinds, for some tamarind aide. Well, each time I bent over I got a sharp pain, but continued picking (really stupid) and walked home,” she says) and had to be air ambulanced off a second time, as the leads of the pacemaker had pierced her heart wall. “This time it was very much touch and go. Let us just say the white light was blinking!” she confirms.
Thankfully, due to excellent care both professionally and via her family. Suzy pulled through. It galvanised her into action, as she explains, “When you come out the other end of something like this, you want to let others know, so perhaps you can have them avoid your mistakes.”
Suzy says she decided at her next birthday to ask friends and family to donate to a heart fund which I would like to start, in lieu of presents.
She says, “One of my friends, Dr. Sook Yin, called me and offered her services and thus is our incredible medical director. Other close friends, Kevin and Angela Doyle, could not attend my birthday celebrations, as Kevin was not feeling well. We found out later he had a serious heart condition and was living with it for many years without knowing it and finally had serious surgery to repair it. He jumped on board and is our very active Vice Chairman.”
Dr Yin explains that her involvement in the prevention of heart dis