Mayfaire - May 9 & 10, 2014
Mayfaire is Benefis Health System Foundation’s annual signature fundraiser. One of the premier events in Great Falls since 2000, Mayfaire features an elegant, fun-filled Gala preceded by a charity golf tournament. This year’s proceeds will go toward helping the Benefis Heart & Vascular Institute put in place the missing piece in its cardiology services – an Electrophysiology Program.
The Mayfaire weekend begins with a golf tournament on Friday at the Meadow Lark Country Club’s magnificent 18-hole course. The Gala on Saturday in the Mansfield Convention Center consists of a delicious sit-down meal prepared by Benefis’ executive chef, an enticing silent auction and a special appeal featuring the exciting developments in the Benefis Heart & Vascular Institute.
Following the program, guests will be treated to a performance by one of Nashville’s great stars, Lorrie Morgan, whose songs have helped mend – and break – a few hearts over the years. Lorrie has been named Female Vocalist of the Year four different times and has recorded 14 Top 10 hits, including “What Part of No Don’t You Understand,” “Something in Red” and “If You Think I Won’t Go, Watch Me.” Visit her website by clicking HERE to see a collection of videos featuring these incredible songs along with several others.
Who is this year's beneficiary?
First, a simple refresher on biology. Your circulatory system basically has two components – the plumbing and the electrical. Great Falls has always had top-notch specialists to treat issues on the plumbing side, like blockage in your pipes (the circulatory network) or problems in the pump (your heart). In fact, Benefis last year was ranked #1 in the nation for heart attack care compared with more than 1,000 other hospitals across the U.S. And last July, Benefis was recognized with the American Heart Association’s Gold Quality Achievement Award for care of stroke patients.
Basically, we’ve got the plumbing side of the heart down pat. But for diagnosis and treatment of some problems on the electrical side, patients in Great Falls and Northcentral Montana have had to travel to Missoula, Billings, Kalispell or even out of state.
The exciting news is, with the arrival of Electrophysiologist Dr. Alrich Gray in November, the Heart & Vascular Institute now can provide the full range of advanced treatments for patients with abnormal heart rhythms. Using a sophisticated mapping system, Dr. Gray can insert catheters into different areas in the heart to create a detailed picture of the heart’s electrical system. If the pathways that are the source of a disturbance in the heart’s rhythms are found, he can use energy to ablate – or burn – the tissue that sends the faulty electrical impulses causing the irregular heartbeat. Instead of using medications to control the rhythm, the ablation can actually cure it.
Benefis made the investment for the basic components of the new Electrophysiology Lab, bringing Great Falls quickly on par with what’s offered in Billings and Missoula. Philanthropy is now needed to push it to the next level.
Benefis Foundation is planning to use the money raised through this year’s Mayfaire to add a Cryo Ablation system to the Electrophysiology program. This state-of-the art technology, which uses cold rather than heat to treat the bad pathways, has many advantages, not the least of which is less time to complete the treatment.
This is a hugely important development for healthcare in our region. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., far outpacing cancer or any other disease, and abnormal heart rhythms can greatly increase your risk for stroke. The most common type of abnormal heart rhythm is Atrial Fibrillation, or A-fib as it is commonly called. As many as 6 million Americans have A-fib, diagnosed or not, including an estimated 2,400 people within 100 miles of Great Falls. More than half of those people could potentially be candidates for the life-altering treatments the new EP program at Benefis will offer.
To support Mayfaire, you can donate a fun or fancy bottle of wine (valued at $10 or more… or way more!) to help build a Wall of Wine for the Gala, buy a Mayfaire Raffle ticket, donate a fine item or special experience for the silent auction, or give a cash gift. Call Benefis Foundation at (406) 455-5840 to find out more about how you can be involved.