Cardiology Summit Brings South Pole Trekkers to Tell their Tale

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It’s not every day you meet someone who’s been to the South Pole.  And it’s not every day you meet a heart transplant patient either.

So when you meet someone who’s both a heart transplant patient and who’s been to the South Pole, you know you’re meeting someone special.

People in Thunder Bay, Ontario, had just the chance to do that at the 2nd Annual Northwestern Ontario Cardiology Summit.

This year’s summit opened with a dinner that featured Dale Shippam, a local firefighter and heart transplant patient, and his physician, Dr. Heather Ross.  Guests heard the inspiring story about their recent trek to the South Pole – all in an effort to raise awareness for organ donation and transplantation.

Dr. Ross is the leader of ‘Test Your Limits’, an expedition team that climbs mountains and treks to the ends of the world to raise awareness for heart failure research, cardiac transplantation and heart health.  She is also a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, Director of the Cardiac Transplant Program at Toronto General Hospital and is the Head of the MSH/UHN Heart Failure Program.  Furthermore, she is the Ted Rogers and Family Chair in Heart Function.

She says the inspiration for all their expeditions comes from Dale.  “If a heart transplant recipient can complete the intense training and conquer these grueling treks to climb mountains and reach the Poles after surviving advanced stage heart failure, then anyone can do it.”

The following day, the summit continued for healthcare professionals interested in hearing about the latest on heart failure management and palliation, device therapy, prevention and management of hypertension, acute coronary syndromes, ECG abnormalities, cardiogenic syncope, exercise stress testing and other related topics.  Nine leading cardiologists from across the country shared their expertise with attendees.

The summit was made possible with the extraordinary support of sponsors including the Northern Cardiac Fund of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation, Sunovion, Bristol-Myers Squibb