Reaching Out, Saving Lives

Beyond their walls, VCU Health and the Pauley Heart Center participates in many community events. Here are a few coming up:

VCU Health is sponsoring the Retreat and Refresh Stroke Camp for stroke survivors and their loved ones. The camp will be held Sept. 8–10 at Airfield Conference Center in Wakefield. Offered throughout the U.S., the nonprofit camp was started by a stroke survivor and his loved one. This will be the first time the camp is offered in Virginia according to Kristina Gooch, a nurse with the VCU Stroke Program who is helping to coordinate the effort.

During camp, survivors and caregivers will have the opportunity to meet and interact with others in their situation. “There will be activities to retreat and relax from the daily struggles they face,” said Gooch. As participants talk about their problems and triumphs, “the value is it provides everyone with a new sense of purpose in the community.” For more information, visit

VCU Health is a sponsor for the American Heart Association’s Life Is Why Richmond Heart Walk, which will take place Saturday, Oct. 7, at West Creek Parkway. The annual 1- and 3.1-mile walk supports education and research for heart disease and stroke, with the Richmond chapter hoping to raise 
$1.6 million this year.

Last year, the Pauley Heart Pumpers, led by co-captains Lorraine Witzke, RN, and patient Greg Lowe, raised $11,830 and were the number-one VCU fundraising team. The team included transplant survivors and several patients who took part in the walk from inside the heart center (see article “Walk of Fame: Patient Leads ‘Virtual Heart Walk.’”). To sign up or support a VCU Pauley Heart Center team, please visit

At the Heart Walk, VCU Pauley Heart Center staffers will take part in demonstrations of Hands-Only CPR. Promoting this simple rescue technique that does not require mouth-to-mouth resuscitation has been an important and frequent outreach effort for Pauley.

During CPR Awareness Week (June 1-7), Michelle Gossip, BSN, Advanced Resuscitation Cooling Therapeutics and Intensive Care (ARCTIC) Program Coordinator took part in one to two community events every day. At one function, she helped train 700 City of Richmond employees in Hands-Only CPR.

“It does save lives,” said Gossip. “People are afraid of doing CPR and we need to debunk that fear.”