Wednesday, September 21, 2016


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An extraordinary series for women

We were part of an extraordinary evening on WOMEN'S HEART HEALTH - you can listen to the talks presented at WINDSOR PARK UNITED CHURCH    CLICK HERE  Rev, Sharon Wilson led an incredible team which created an evening which changed the lives of nearly 400 attendees ... they have agreed to assemble the template for this FREE initiative to share with others whom will are most anxious to bring this learning experience to their community - just call me IVAN at 1-204-2283193 

You can listen to Terry MacLeod honouring me on his CBC Weekend Morning Show

In 1965, my family began to learn the hard way that heart diseases were BAD.  We lost my Uncle Sam who collapsed in his doctor’s office. The next year my mother was immobilized with a sore back in hospital; we were told “she looks like she is going to have a heart attack”; and she died that afternoon. In a continuing series of shocks, heart attacks took my father, another uncle, my mother’s cousin Maitland Steinkopf with whom we were very close, two fathers-in-law, my special friend Myles Robinson (in whose memory Harold Buchwald led us to create a fund which we built to $500,000 and have been able to help ENCOURAGE HEART HEALTH); and a tragic loss one morning of our friend who had been treated for breast cancer but was felled by a blocked artery.
I have learned that cardiovascular research and translational training have made it possible for people to survive even more dangerous conditions and carry on to healthy and fulfilling lives.
The most intimate for me was the experience of my grandson Christopher.
. When he was born, he was rushed into intensive care where they discovered he has Down Syndrome and, as is often the case, he had a hole in his heart. I was able to build possibly the best team in history to study the DVD of the echo of his heart and advise on his treatment including Drs. Lois DeBakey, Sir Magdi Yacoub, Allan Menkis, Jamil Tajik and Navin Nanda. At home, in California, Christopher was also blessed by the care a number of great people. Their assessments led to the conclusion that he required surgery to close the hole which was growing. Fortunately the California system made available one of the best pediatric cardiac surgeons in the world – Stanford’s Dr. Frank Hanley.  Through a 3 cm incision, he was able, as I am told, to provide the only cardiac treatment which completely fixes a problem. Indeed Christopher is quite amazing as evidenced by his conducting an orchestra of their friends which he requested for his 6th birthday  - you can enjoy it on my blog:  go to Aug 8, 2913 post
As I have accumulated information for this article, I am delighted that I was able to chat with one of Winnipeg’s most precious assets, Kathleen Richardson who is a Canadian philanthropist and supporter of the arts. It is amazing that she sounds so vigourous and continues to be so full of optimistic enthusiasm. She told me that in 1980, she underwent successful surgery to replace a heart valve. Subsequently, several people asked why she hadn’t gone to Minneapolis or Dallas where she would have had excellent surgeons and th best care. She always replied that there were surgeons here that were the equal or better than those anywhere. Her surgeon at St. Boniface Hospital was Dr. Morley Cohen. He was born at Winnipeg on November 18th, 1923. Dr. Cohen received his undergraduate and medical school education at the University of Manitoba (1948). He then went to the University of Minnesota for post graduate surgical training, completing his residency and PhD in Surgery before returning to Winnipeg in 1955. He joined the Department of Surgery at the University of Manitoba where he performed Manitoba’s first open-heart surgery in 1959. As the driving force behind the introduction of cardiac surgery to the Province of Manitoba, he served as head of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery from its inception in 1967 to 1984. He retired in 1987. In 2002, in recognition of his contributions to the province’s medical community, he received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal. He died at Winnipeg on August 18, 2005.
I read about Kristin Millar in a publication of the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation: 
Kristin was just 18-years-old when she was diagnosed with heart disease. “During a regular workout, I suddenly collapsed. This had never happened to me before. I immediately met with my doctor, and received news that would change my life forever,” says Kristin. Kristin was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a serious heart condition that can cause sudden death. Despite her condition, she continued to live a healthy, active life until a few years later, when she began to develop flu-like symptoms. “I began to feel nauseated, weak, and tired,” says Kristin. “I couldn’t even climb the stairs to my apartment. I thought I was coming down with the flu. After six weeks of symptoms, I realized it was much more serious.”
During a routine visit to St-Boniface Hospital, Kirstin went into cardiac shock. Her heart was functioning at less than six per cent; she had no measurable blood pressure; her organs were failing.
St-Boniface Hospital’s incredible cardiac team saved her life by implanting a left ventricular assist device (lVAD) into her heart. For two years, the lVAD pumped blood throughout Kristin’s body, keeping her alive until she could receive a heart transplant. That day finally came in January 2012. “I finally got the phone call I had been waiting for,” says Kristin. “I heard the words I had been hoping to hear for two years: ‘Kristin, we have a heart for you.’” After successful heart transplant surgery in Ottawa, Kristin immediately returned to St-Boniface Hospital, where staff were there post-surgery to help her recover from the operation.
Three years after her live-saving surgery, Kristin is an accomplished public speaker, and recently received a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Winnipeg. She is currently enrolled in Red River College's Creative Communications program and also works with Literacy Partners, a not-for-profit aimed at supporting learners and practitioners in their efforts to improve literacy and essential skills in Manitoba.
My friend Linda Lindsay is shy to write of her experience. Her symptoms were ignored and she might have died. Fortunately, she was able to get treatment in time. Her story is similar to the experience of  Rosie O’Donnell who revealed her heart attack at:*+-odonnell-discusses-heart-attack-valentines-day-hbo-comedy-special-heartfelt-321426
With over 35 years experience, Gary Bachman,  a long time Winnipegger, is not just a real estate professional, he is a professional negotiator, an entrepreneur and a good listener. He has the unique ability to apply common sense solutions to business and real estate issues. Undoubtedly, the pressures of that career contributed to problems and Gary had open heart surgery. But it has not slowed him down. Indeed, his surgeon Alan Menkis chuckles that Gary is his first patient who was talking as soon as he awoke from the operation.
Local realtor Peter Kaufmann  had a heart attack on an island near Kenora – he got to Kenora Hospital in time; he was flown to Winnipeg; treatment began when he was greeted by the Paramedics of the new Emergency Medical Services; the team at the Cardiac Sciences Program at St. Boniface Hospital were waiting for him and his life-saving angioplasty procedures began within 10 minutes.
Sheila Wolfe has always been slim, active and healthy BUT she developed blockages in her arteries and needed open-heart surgery. She said: “Just after my heart surgery I imagined that I would have to change my lifestyle. Before my cardiac event I was a very active senior.   I was an active golfer and enjoyed many energetic activities with my four grandchildren.  My husband and I also had a full social calendar. Six years have passed since my surgery and I can say that I am even more active and involved than I was before having my surgery. I have the deepest appreciation of my good health and I am indebted to the care and treatment that I received as a patient of the St. Boniface Cardiovascular Unit and for my physician, Dr. Wayne Poon.”
Late in the Summer of 2014, I was shocked to hear from his sister that my cousin Max Steinkopf had been rushed by ambulance from Kenora to the St. Boniface Hospital “Cath Lab”. I joined them as Max was being wheeled into the testing area. They did an angiogram and found they needed to insert a stent. My shock originally came because Max has been even more passionate than I in living an almost perfect lifestyle – but his bad genes must have caused the blockage for which fortunately treatment is now available to avoid the sudden deaths which befell both our fathers and mothers although Max’ mother Helen lived a very full 86 years, recovering from heart surgery but succumbing as she made the last of her innumerable phone calls to raise money for  her favourite charity Continuity Care for families in Manitoba to plan for an enriched quality of life for their family member with an intellectual disability. Her legal adviser for this project was Harold Buchwald.
Paul Morton, one of the strongest, most active (but not careful in his diet) friends I have had since University of Manitoba days, required surgery for an aortic aneurysm – he has had very difficult days in post-op and then a fall which broke ribs, but he is doing well. I am grateful again for the revolutionary surgery done by the “Father of Heart Surgery” Michael DeBakey whom I was honoured to welcome to Winnipeg when we presented the prestigious “Medal of Merit” from I A C S. Dr. DeBakey performed the first aortic aneurysm repair using a Dacron fabric sleeve he had sewn himself the night before using the training on a sewing machine his mother had taught him. Sadly, my plan to honour Dr. DeBakey on his 100th Birthday, for which he had promised to come to a Conference in Winnipeg, turned into a Tribute because he died two months before the event.
In April 2015, I heard that my friend Al Snyder collapsed just after pursuing his continuingly active life style while in Palm Springs. His treatment began immediately with even over-aggressive CPR which broke his sternum; AED; anti-coagulants; and the double bypass seems to have been a success. The doctors at the Eisenhower Center told them that the policemen who were the first responders in a coffee shop, saved Al’s life as his heart had stopped. Al and his wife joined us on May 4 and we have added him to our team to encourage others to respect their own risks.
And also from Palm Springs, I heard that ex-Winnipegger, Aaron Feldman had to get emergency care for seriously high pulse rate. Again their expertise, aided during a stop in San Francisco, found the correct combination of treatments to bring things back to normal and allow him to carry on to his home in Victoria.
Sid Halpern spent too many years working in the clothing industry – long hours, high stress and no thought of healthy living. 18 years ago he underwent a triple bypass. Sid Halpern spent too many years working in the clothing industry – long hours, high stress and no thought of healthy living. He has become my “Poster Boy” for secondary prevention (to avoid further heart problems). I asked Sid to share his epiphany: “Sixteen years ago, at age 63, when I was diagnosed with quadruple artery blockages, (the main ‘widow’s artery’ 95%) was the luckiest and happiest day of my life, in retrospect, that was my epiphany moment to wake up from the arrogance of invincibility, the false illusion of immortality and to start smelling the roses.That was the moment of introduction to the wonderful Health Care System in Manitoba: Dr Sheldon Permack – my family doctor who alerted me; Dr John Rabson – my cardiologist who diagnosed the illness and recommended; Dr Alexander Hamilton – the cardiac surgeon whose excellence discharged me from HSC in four days, and whose 1% mortality bested that of The Minneapolis Heart Centre’s 2.5%; the Step Down Nurses who “cared for me better than my mother would have”; the Reh- Fit Centre who educated me and motivated me to alter my life style and enjoy the best Golden Years of our lives; and Esther Halpern – MY gorgeous wife – emotionally, physically and strategically whose unconditional love, with my family, nursed and nurtured me back to excellent health. I thank them each and every day.

February 16 1999, the day of my surgery, was the date my life changed and my lifestyle has become one of great pleasure and a goal of developing a quality as well as quantity to enjoy the third quartile from age 65 to 98 and then I will slow down a bit to enjoy the fourth quartile from 98 to 120.My current lifestyle of a balanced exercise regimen, balanced diet, good social interaction, and great family relationships and interactions has resulted in a lifestyle that I look forward to daily, rising at 6 AM with enthusiasm and energy and optimism.

My results to which I can attest include:
-    A fitness level that enables the performance of my exercise routine with a minimum of exertion and effort – it’s actually so enjoyable and addictive that I now do it 5 days a week for 1 ½ hours each of those days.
-    A productivity level that I know is at least 50% higher than when I worked full time, and is reflected in results in the businesses I still attend to
-    An energy level that enables– both intellectually and physically – to interact with my grandchildren and children – resulting in marvelous pleasurable experiences
-    With the capacity in my energy I am able to spend many pleasurable hours in volunteering:                                                                                                                                                -   
And my most rewarding project:  Being asked by my very good friend Ivan Berkowitz, the Heart Health Scholar of the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences, and Dr. Naranjan Dhalla to participate in a Think Tank to develop heart health prevention strategies and to co-chair the annual Harold Buchwald Heart Health Luncheon to remember a very dear friend who counselled me through my surgery .I can honestly declare that I am in the happiest period of my life, enjoying life beyond my wildest dreams with my wife of 55 years. I wish the same for all my friends, whom I encourage and motivate to follow my lead. Not only did it result in Heart Health, but almost all arthritic, bursitis and sciatica pain has disappeared.”

Let there be no question that Sid Halpern embodies “wellness” as defined by the WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: “Wellness is an optimal state of health. It concerns a person’s individual health physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually and also their role in society and fulfilling expectations in their family, community, place of worship, workplace and environment”.
He has become the “Poster Boy” for secondary prevention (to avoid further heart problems). We have been blessed by his total commitment to honour our mutual friend Harold Buchwald at our annual Heart Healh Luncheon. Sid was again the Chair for our annual Luncheon supported by The Asper Foundation, Flax Council of Canada and The Sir Thomas Cropo Foundation on May 4/15 at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg.  highlighted by our 6th Lecture by Dr. Noel Bairey Merz who addressed us on the subject on which she is one of the world's leading cardiologists:                                                     
                “New Approaches to Personal Heart Health"
Noel Bairey Merz, MD, holds the Women's Guild Endowed Chair in Women's Health, and is Director of the Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center, the Linda Joy Pollin Women’s Heart Health Program, and the Preventive Cardiac Center at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute. She also is Professor of Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Bairey Merz's research interests include women and cardiovascular disease, mental stress and heart disease, the role of exercise and stress management in reversing disease, and the role of nutrition in heart disease.
She participated in the IACS initiative supported by a dynamic collaboration with the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation (“STBHF”), led by Chuck LaFl├Ęche and the Myles Robinson Memorial Heart Trust (founded by Harold Buchwald). All funds raised will support the encouragement of individuals to become engaged in protecting their own heart health.
An outstanding addition to the Luncheon program was our M C - CBC Manitoba’s beloved Weekend Morning Show’s Terry MacLeod. Terry has recovered amazingly well from a quintuple bypass at the St. Boniface Cardiac Sciences Program.
I started the day of Noel’s visit with a Brainstorming Breakfast which stimulated most informative exchanges on Women’s Heart Health between Noel and guests from Luncheon sponsors including St. Boniface and Victoria Hospital Foundations; The Sir Thomas Cropo Foundation; Flax Council; and Sid Halpern; as well as representatives from H A P P Y (Heart Attack Prevention Program for You); Mite Achimowin (Heart Talk) Digital Storytelling Project of First Nations Women; Hypertension Awareness Clinic; Heart & Stroke Foundation; RehFit Centre; Rev. Sharon Wilson; Liv Furgale; Terry MacLeod; and Dr. Delfin Rodriguez (who has immigrated from  Cuba to accept appointment as U of MB Associate Professor of Translational Cardiology and resulting  from my introduction, has begun to practise cardiology with Jack Rusen [R] at the Eaton Place Medical Centre).
Noel’s “Bucky” Lecture is now ONLINE, complete with her slides:

I was shocked to hear about two months ago, that Hart, the eldest son of Connie and Myles Robinson, had a stroke. It is scary that he is 53, the age at which his father succumbed to sudden cardiac arrest. As Hart begun to recover, his medical team in Toronto identified a twist in an artery in his brain which they quickly repaired. As he recovered well from both incidents, he had another small stroke. More investigation discovered the need for surgery to replace his valve with a bioprosthetic one. Happily, I can report he is at home, continuing to have exceptional medical care and making and buoyed by indomitable spirit and extraordinary support from his family and friends. I am comforted to recognize the level of treatment available to him – oh that it had been available 50 years ago when my Uncle Sam (Hart’s Grandfather) began my “heart-breaking odyssey”.

I concluded my article in my 57th/last Issue as Founding Editor of CV Network – “As my friend Izzy Asper’s vision has been recognized with the 'Tower of Hope' atop the architectural masterpiece of the  C M H R, as the St. Boniface Research Heart Health Scholar, I continue to work and 'shoot for the stars' and now I expect to encourage more people than ever to follow my lead to a HEART HEALTHY Lifestyle!"

I am delighted that Dr. Davinder Jassal has been appointed to lead the Women’s Heart Research at St. Boniface Research for which I now share responsibility. I attended the first CANADA WOMEN’S HEART HEALTH SUMMIT in Ottawa on April 14/15, 2016 – it has opened me to number of collaborative thrusts.

WHOA ,,,,  what now?  My sister felt some discomfort and needs to prepare for hip surgery, Only by pushing her medical team in Hull, Quebec did she have them do an arterial investigation resulting in inserting through the catheter 3 stents into seriously blocked  arteries - YES our encouragement of people to work on their own heart health and push for care is necessary as all the wonderful expertise can only work if we don't ignore what's happening to ourselves!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Ivan Berkowitz was honoured by I A C S at a Special Reception

click here to enjoy an extraordinary treat for Ivan

Keith Levit took some incredible photos

Click here to listen to IVAN honoured by Terry MacLeod on his CBC Weekend Morning Show

Special Recognition for Ivan Berkowitz MBA

At a reception held in Winnipeg in February, 2016, the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences has recognized Ivan Berkowitz with “Distinguished Service Award in Cardiovascular Science, Medicine and Surgery”. In his capacity as Editor of CV Network and Heart Health Scholar of the Academy for more than 15 years, Ivan has played a critical role in the development of cardiovascular health programs throughout the world. He served as conference coordinator for 11 national and international meetings and symposia held in Winnipeg for exchanging information on cardiovascular health and disease. In addition, he organized several public forums in Winnipeg and paid particular attention to lifestyle modifications and nutritional approaches for the prevention of heart disease. He edited a book “Frontiers in Cardiovascular Health” published by Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston, 2003. He has also been serving on the editorial board of the Journal of Cardiovascular Translational Research. The work of Ivan Berkowitz was recognized by several awards from different organizations.
He received Medal of Merit from SERVCOR, Brazil and was bestowed the title “Honourary Professor of Fundaco Cardiovascular Sao Francisco de Assis” Belo Horizonte, Brazil. He was granted Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, 2009 Reh-Fit Foundation Healthy Living Award, and Big Heart Award for Organizational Achievement by the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Manitoba. He has been serving as President of Myles Robinson Memorial Heart Trust for the past 9 years. Indeed, Ivan has rendered invaluable services in promoting the mission of the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences and thus all the Officers and Members of the Executive Council extend their best wishes for his future endeavors.
Naranjan S. Dhalla, Honourary Life President, IACS

Monday, March 28, 2016


We built an outstanding team which created:



We included a talk by Dr. Noel Bairey Merz from the Barbra Streisand Women;s Heart Centre at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in L A, Dr Merz spoke at our Harold Buchwald Luncheon on May 4
to view her talk click here

Barbra Streisand is doing amazing work against the "YENTL SYNDROME" ,,,, women need to be men to fight heart disease -  click here

Barbra recently received the most distinguished award given by the United States and presented to her by President Obama who said: “Off the stage, she has been a passionate advocate for issues like heart disease and women’s equality, I’m getting all verklempt just thinking about it.”

Friday, March 9, 2012

click to connect to CTV Manitoba

Another NEW indicator of a STROKE

Good to know.

Stroke has a new indicator - IMPORTANT !!!
Stroke has a new indicator They say if you e.mail this to ten people, you stand a chance of saving one life. Will you send this along? Blood Clots/Stroke - They Now Have a Fourth Indicator, the Tongue

I will continue to forward this every time it comes around!

Remember the 1st Three Letters.....S. T. R.


During a BBQ, a woman stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) ...she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes.

They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Jane went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening.

Jane's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - (at 6:00 PM Jane passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Jane would be with us today. Some don't die. They end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead.

It only takes a minute to read this.

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke...totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.


Thank God for the sense to remember the '3' steps, STR. Read and


Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.

Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

S *
Ask the individual to SMILE.

T *
Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A

(i.e. Chicken Soup)

Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency numberimmediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

New Sign of a Stroke -------- Stick out Your Tongue

NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue. If the tongue is

'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other
that is also an indication of a stroke.

Sunday, February 19, 2012