A life-changing heart problem provides inspiration to give back
World-class long-distance triathlete and 14-time Ironman finisher Eddie Herd, MD, has embarked on yet another challenge – to raise funds for the children of West Hawaii. Along with the Ironman Foundation and Chris Lieto’s More Than Sport, this determined and passionate team is focused on funding much-needed equipment for the Obstetrics department at Kona Community Hospital. The “A Heart for Kids” campaign has an ambitious goal of nearly $150,000 of life-saving medical purchases which includes a neo-natal and material resuscitation simulator, infant CPAP resuscitation system, neo-natal resuscitation bed with warmers, and fetal monitors.
“Two years ago I underwent heart surgery,” commented Dr. Herd. “It was a time in my life that I was confronted with serious life questions such as will I ever be able to do the things I did before and what matters most to me. As a physician, one would think with my line of work that these are easy questions to answer but they are not. Since then, I have been adamant about continuing to be active, living a healthy lifestyle and now doing the Ironman again, which I fortunately am this year, but also giving back to our community. Being a Pediatrician, it wasn’t difficult to decide to concentrate my efforts on children and Kona Community Hospital.”
Herd believed that a partnership with the Ironman Foundation would be most appropriate. Since 1981 when the Ironman World Championships came to the Big Island, members of the medical staff of Kona Community Hospital have diligently volunteered to treat Ironman athletes who need medical care.
“This is a great collaboration,” stated David Deschenes, Director of the Ironman Foundation in Florida. “Many Ironman athletes have been cared for at Kona Community Hospital. The Foundation program “Your Journey, Your Cause” allows athletes like Dr. Herd to fundraise for a charity that they are passionate about and ultimately help advance its mission.”
The items that will be purchased will help save the lives of mothers and babies by enhancing the training of staff, as well as allow early detection of the need for medical intervention during labor-delivery and improve efforts to stabilize newborns in distress soon after birth.
“It takes just one champion like Dr. Herd to inspire such a worthwhile campaign,” noted Anne Irene Wilcox, Trustee of the Kona Hospital Foundation. “By all of us coming together like this, Dr. Herd and his wife Belinda, the Ironman Foundation, and Chris Lieto’s More Than Sport, sincerely shows our community that we care and want to make a difference.”
If you would like to make a donation to this campaign, please contact the Kona Hospital Foundation at 322-4587 or visit http://ironman.kintera.org/worldchampionship/eddieandbelindaherd.