10,00 Reasons To Say Thank You!

Left to Right: Steve Holt, Howard Hanna Holt President; Kathryn Bronstein, Foundation President and Patricia DiPalma, Foundation Executive Director

It’s February – American Heart Month and a time when the nation spotlights heart disease – the No. 1 killer for both men and women in America.

Stephen Holt was just 37 years old when he suffered a widow maker heart attack twenty years ago on a frigid cold day in December.

He was treated by the medical personnel at Westfield Memorial Hospital (WMH), now known as AHN Westfield Hospital. There Emergency Department doctors performed life saving measures to get him back to health.

The president and owner of Howard Hanna Holt Real Estate, Stephen recently relayed how he and his wife, Stephanie were enjoying a Christmas party when he suddenly became nauseous and began experiencing shortness of breath.

With beads of perspiration trickling across his forehead, he knew instantly he needed to get to the nearby hospital as soon as possible. Holt credits the highly skilled and compassionate WMH ED physicians for saving his life.  Once stable, our caring physicians transferred him to Saint Vincent Hospital.

He never imagined a heart attack would happen to a young man in his 30’s with a wife and young children.  When he woke up to learn he had survived a massive heart attack, he knew this shock would change his life. “We get so stuck in work and in the day to day routines that we forget to be appreciative of the things we take for granted.  I think this near fatal experience changed me and made me a better person,” he said.

Today, Holt is a vibrant and award winning second generation realtor with close to 50 agents throughout Chautauqua County. “I appreciate life more,” Holt said.

Steve also recalled how family friend, Dr. Grant Stephenson went to the Holt’s home soon after to check in on him.  When asked about the incident, Dr. Stephenson pulled the EKG tracing paper from his shirt pocket and said: “You are so lucky you went to the hospital when you did.”

Steve remains very grateful to the community hospital that saved his life.  SO grateful, he donated $10,000 to the WMH Foundation’s Endowment Fund, aptly named: The Little Hospital That Could.

“How kind and generous of Stephen Holt to hop on board and give a gift that will have a tremendous impact for years to come,” stated AHN Westfield Hospital Administrator Rodney Buchanan.

WMHF Executive Director, Patricia Gaughan DiPalma noted: “The WMH Foundation Board and I remain grateful to Stephen and his entire family for their continuous support and for all they have done to ensure our community is a great place to live, work and play.

Surviving a heart attack has brought unexpected gifts to Steve, one of the reasons he wants to give to others.  He chooses to make his second chance about paying it forward and showing other survivors that they are not alone.

“Stephen Holt is a perfect example of how having access to quality healthcare in one’s own backyard is so critical – highlighting the need for the hospital Foundation we had then and still need now,” she added.

For those who would like to learn more about the Westfield Memorial Hospital Foundation or how to give, contact Ms. DiPalma at patricia.dipalma@ahn.org or call 716-793-2338.