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Father Survives 3 Heart Attacks – Penn Medicine

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Father Survives 3 Heart Attacks – Penn Medicine




When cardiac arrest is caused by a major blockage in the left anterior descending (LAD) artery, the medical term is a STEMI (ST segment elevation myocardial infarction). Most of us know of STEMI by its more common name – the “widowmaker” – coined as such because it is associated with the highest risk of death, subsequent heart failure, and stroke. For survivors, the consequences of a widowmaker heart attack can be catastrophic as irreversible tissue damage can forever limit cardiac functioning.

In the last four years, Delaney Donaghy’s father has survived three widowmaker heart attacks. She credits his remarkable survival to the care he’s received at Penn Medicine under Andrew J. Litwack, MD, Director of the Consultative Cardiology Program and Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine. 

Delaney, who was a junior in high school when her father suffered his first attack, is now a third year undergraduate student at Holy Family University and President of the Holy Family Business Society. The Business Society has been recognized for its commitment to community service, which is highlighted every February with a popular bowling fundraiser to benefit a local charity. 

This year, the Business Society chose Penn’s Heart & Vascular Center as their beneficiary. For Delaney, this was a wonderful opportunity to help support other families touched by heart disease and to thank everyone at Penn Heart & Vascular, most especially Dr. Litwack, for saving her father’s life. 

Bowling Fundraiser for Heart Month 

bowling event for heart monthAs February is Heart Month, there was a unique synergy and momentum as the Business Society promoted the event. Utilizing their marketing expertise to engage dozens of local businesses, they secured enough gifts in-kind to fill 34 raffle baskets and raised over $1,500! 

Perhaps most importantly, the event was a beautiful night with over 100 people of all ages celebrating life while bowling among a sea of red heart balloons. Members of the Holy Family community rallied in support, faculty brought their family and friends, and even purchased lanes for students to bowl. The event also featured 5 lanes of bowlers from the Donaghy family, including Delaney’s father. 

The Penn Heart & Vascular Center is deeply grateful to and inspired by the Business Society at Holy Family University. The funds that these enterprising students have raised will directly support the Center’s on-going work in pursuing advances in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment that will ensure that more patients like Delaney’s father continue to thrive and live their best lives.

For more information on how you can get involved and support the Penn Heart and Vascular Center, please contact Abby Addy at 215-573-9799 or abikat@upenn.edu for further information. 

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