THUNDER BAY – Guests dined, danced and bid to their hearts’ content at the Downtown Volkswagen Save a Heart Ball on November 13th. 430 guests attended the sold-out event, which raised funds in support of the Northern Cardiac Fund of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation. A record $55,000 was raised to help expand angioplasty services in Northwestern Ontario.
In its five-year history, the Ball has raised over $195,000. “More than ever before, people were eager to be part of the Downtown Volkswagen Save a Heart Ball this year. It’s very encouraging to see this level of support when cardiac care is so important to our community,” says Vince Mirabelli, event chair.
Mirabelli is the driving force behind the event, which he began in recognition of the cardiac care his father received at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.
The elegant event allows people to support growing cardiac service and also to celebrate the major advances to cardiac care realized to this point. A new element to support cardiac care was introduced at this year’s Ball. “We’re very pleased to present the first Save a Heart Car Raffle,” says Mirabelli. The grand prize, a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta donated by Downtown Volkswagen, was unveiled at the event.
There will also be a second prize – a 1964 Volkswagen Beetle donated by Eric Long.
The draw will be held on Valentine’s Day. The raffle also includes two return trips from Thunder Bay to any Porter Airlines scheduled destination as a third prize, as well as early bird prizes, including a cruise donated by Expedia Cruise Ship Centre.
“Fundraising efforts like this have been instrumental to the great success of our cardiology program,” says cardiologist and event co-chair Dr. Frank Nigro. “The proceeds have allowed the purchase of advanced cardiac equipment and at the same time, provided patients rapid access to life-saving cardiac services right here at home.”
Cardiac services will expand with the addition of a second cardiac catheterization lab at our Health Sciences Centre. With it will come 24/7 access to emergency angioplasty service.
Immediate access during or following a heart attack saves lives. The Foundation is committed to raising $5 million to support the expansion.
“We are proud to be part of such a meaningful endeavour,” says Lida Mascarin of Downtown Volkswagen. “As a local business, we believe it’s important to contribute to the well-being of our community.”
“I can’t offer enough praise to the volunteers, sponsors and staff who made the Downtown Volkswagen Save a Heart Ball possible. Their efforts will impact many lives for years to come,” commented Mirabelli.
Save a Heart Raffle tickets can be purchased at the Foundation office and Downtown Volkswagen. To make a donation in support of expanded angioplasty at our Health Sciences Centre, please contact the Health Sciences Foundation at (807) 345-4673 or visit