- Old Oak Country Club
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Orawiec Cardiac Fund Polish-American Medical Society
As the founder of the Orawiec Cardiac Fund of the Polish-American Medical Society, and everybody who benefited from the Fund, I wish to sincerely thank Mr. Gregory Handzel and his wife, Mrs. Marzena Handzel, for their generous donation to the Fund in 2008. I would also like to thank the organizers of the Handzel Open Tennis Tournament, the players, participants and sponsors. The entire donation of 7,000 USD went towards cardiac risk factor screenings among the Polish-American community, including the Polish Highlander community, which were conducted at St. Constance Church, and the Polish Highlander House, on July 26th and 28th, 2008. It is a great privilege to once again receive the donation from the Handzel Open Tournament in 2011 towards these life saving causes.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) heart disease and stroke is the world’s largest killer, claiming 17.1 million lives a year. In the United States, more than 80 million people have some form of cardiovascular disease. About 2,300 people die every day of cardiovascular disease, an average of one death every 38 seconds. More people die from heart disease than from all types of cancers, respiratory illnesses, accidents, and diabetes combined. Coronary artery disease, the most common form of cardiovascular disease, is the leading cause of death in the US today. We can improve these statistics by controlling certain factors that play an important role in a person’s chances of developing cardiac disease – these are called risk factors. The major risk factors are: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, smoking, unhealthy diet, inactivity, age, gender and family history of heart disease. Cardiovascular disease can take many forms including: high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart failure, valvular heart disease or stroke.
To help people better understand their personal risk for cardiovascular disease, to raise awareness about risk factors, to promote a healthy life style, and to help those with no insurance and no resources for testing, Orawiec Cardiac Fund of the Polish American Medical Society was established. The Fund continues to provide these invaluable services to the Polish-American community and has been recognized by the patients, as well as the American and Polish governments. Founder of the Cardiac Fund, Dr. Bronislaw Orawiec, started free screening for total cholesterol, lipid fractions (HDL – High Density Lipoproteins, LDL – Low Density Lipoproteins, Triglycerides), blood pressure, glucose, body mass index and overall health risks in 1996. Since then, Dr. Orawiec has been conducting free, 2 to 4 day-long screenings for the Polish community every year. Thousands of people have benefited from these screenings, many of them having their tests done for the first time in their lives.
In 1999, The World Heart Federation, an international nongovernmental organization based in Geneva Switzerland was founded. The organization is dedicated to the prevention and control of cardiovascular disease and stroke around the world. Annual World Heart Day is run (since 2000) by the World Heart Federation’s almost 200 member organizations in more than 100 countries. This year’s World Heart Day, taking place on the 25th of September, under the theme „One World, One Home, One Heart” encourages people to join together and create heart-healthy communities. Communities – from families to schools, social groups, workplaces and religious circles – can encourage smoke-free environments, regular physical activity and healthy food choices.
It is worth mentioning that while treatment and control of the major cardiac disease risk factors are lacking in the American population in general, the statistical data amassed by Dr. Orawiec during screenings clearly indicates that the Polish community is even less aware of the risk factors and ways of preventing heart diseases. The more risk factors one has, the more likely one is to develop heart disease, unless action is taken to modify risk factors and work to prevent these devastating consequences. The higher the level of each risk factor, the greater the risk of developing coronary heart disease. Some of them can be modified, treated or controlled (high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, obesity, smoking or tobacco use, physical inactivity and unhealthy diet) and some cannot (age, gender, and family history of heart disease). But by controlling as many risk factors as possible through lifestyle changes, certain medicines, or both, one can reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke.
The goal of the Cardiac Fund is to support fighting cardiac disease in the Polish-American community in Chicago – problems that affects many of us and our loved ones. With the help of donations, we hope to do even more – reaching more people and providing them with more services.
It is never too late or too early to begin improving heart health. Some risk factors can be controlled, while others cannot. By eliminating risk factors that one can change and by properly managing those that one cannot control, it’s possible to greatly reduce risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
The Orawiec Cardiac Fund of the Polish American Medical Society is a non-for-profit, federal tax-exempt fund, and donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.
For more information, please contact:
Bronisław Orawiec, MD, PhD, FACC, FCCP, FABI
Honorary President, Polish-American Medical Society
General physician, Polish Highlanders Alliance of America
5428 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60630