Photo: Jamie, Dixon and Tim Ver Voort
April 19, 2019
HEART OF A DONOR
Young Father’s Heart Attack Spurs Family to Give Back
APPLETON, Wis. – Tim Ver Voort, of Appleton, is a 35-year old husband and father. He and his wife Jamie, a registered nurse at ThedaCare, both have January birthdays, and they have a tradition of completing their health assessments during their shared birthday month each year.
“We always go through our results to get a better picture of our overall health,” said Jamie Ver Voort.
In January 2018, Tim’s cholesterol numbers came back high. He made a February appointment with his primary care doctor to discuss diet and exercise changes before an April recheck. That was the plan, and as it turned out, April did not go according to plan.
It began as a normal morning. Tim took the family’s car to the car wash, by the time he arrived; he had broken out in a heavy sweat.
“He called me to tell me he felt really sick and I wondered if he was getting the flu,” Jamie said.
Tim and his friend opted to go to urgent care where Tim started to complain of chest pain. The symptoms were so serious he was taken to ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton where doctors discovered he was having a STEMI, which is a kind of heart attack where one of the heart’s major arteries are blocked. An emergency cardiac catheterization was performed to open the 100 percent blocked artery and ultimately save Tim’s life.
It’s been just one year since Tim and Jamie’s harrowing experience. Their son, Dixon, is now two years old and a happy, healthy little boy. Tim’s experience now plays a major role in Dixon’s own health journey.
“We know he will need his cholesterol checked for the first time when he is 12 because our family history means he has likely inherited high cholesterol that will need intervention,” Jamie said. “And we are big believers in calcium screenings [a CT scan that measures the amount of calcified plaque in coronary arteries], understanding what all our labs mean and cardiac rehab.”
It was cardiac rehab–part physical therapy, part support group–where Tim went after his heart catheterization. It took less than a month for his rehab team to clear him to go golfing, his favorite summertime sport.
Photo: “Drive Out Heart Disease” golf outing
“I couldn’t believe it,” Jamie said. “It was May, and he’d had such a positive healing experience; he’d come so far.”
Jamie immediately wanted to do something to pay their good fortune forward and lift Tim’s spirits. As a surprise, she worked with family and good friends to plan a May golf outing at Mid Vallee Golf Course in De Pere, launch a GoFundMe page and donate all of the proceeds to the Healing Hearts Fund within the ThedaCare Family of Foundations. The Healing Hearts Fund supports patients going through cardiac rehab.
Forty participants golfed that day, and others on the course made donations when they learned about Tim’s story. The result of the “Drive Out Heart Disease” golf outing was $1,500 donated to the Healing Hearts Fund. Jamie and Tim plan to do it again this summer.
“Cardiac rehab is where a lot of the healing happens, particularly emotional healing,” Jamie said. “The act of giving back was very healing for both of us. We were surrounded by people who love us, and we had the chance to stop and say, ‘Thank you.’ It was part of our family’s recovery.”
To learn more about the ThedaCare Family of Foundations and the impact of donor support, or make a donation, please visit www.thedacare.org/Foundations or email Foundations@thedacare.org.
Photo 1: Jamie, Dixon and Tim Ver Voort
Photo 2: “Drive Out Heart Disease” golf outing
For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization serves a community of more than 600,000 residents and employs more than 6,700 healthcare professionals throughout the regions. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 31 clinics in nine counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.
Media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public Relations Specialist at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.