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April 2, 2008 > Mended Hearts support group

Mended Hearts support group

By Brittney Hansen
Photos By courtesy of Mary Phillips

For heart patients, just like anyone else, surgery can be a frightening and unknown experience. For those with various heart diseases as well as those in need a of bypass surgery, it is good to know that The Mended Hearts organization is there to encourage and uplift them through such unfamiliar times. Affiliated with the American Heart Association, The Mended Hearts, Inc. is a national non-profit organization, and has over 280 community-based chapters in the United States. Chapter 162 meets in the Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Hayward.

The Mended Hearts Hayward chapter began in March of 1990, and just celebrated its 18th birthday. This chapter meets on the second Saturday of every month, except July, from 1 - 3 p.m. The members who attend the monthly meetings, ranging anywhere from 25-45 people, come together to talk about their personal survival stories and to hear from professionals such as heart surgeons, nutritionists and cardiologists, as well as those working with Alzheimer's disease.

Jane Rouzer is this year's Hayward chapter president; she first learned about the Mended Hearts support group when a member talked with her during her stay at Kaiser Hospital. In October of 2001, she had a triple bypass procedure performed on her heart. "The Mended Heart group pulled me through," she said, by "just being there for me." Rouzer said that she hopes to get the word out about this specific support group, and other groups in general because of the way she was personally touched. "Our main goal is to volunteer, and to talk to the patients," Rouzer said, "to let them know that we are survivors." She has been volunteering her time for about four years now, letting heart patients know about the support group and encouraging them, just as members had encouraged her during her own surgery and recovery process.

The next support group meeting will be held on Saturday, April 12, in the Hayward Kaiser Permanente Conference Room. The key speaker will be Susan Kraughto from the Northern California chapter of the Arthritis Foundation. She is a land and water exercise instructor, and will be talking about some of the programs that she is involved in. Because the support group features people from many professions, in addition to those related to circulatory conditions, they are able to reach a wider audience and help more people become aware of a variety of health concerns. The meetings are for patients and their caretakers alike, as well as their families and anyone interested in learning more about circulatory health.

The Mended Hearts group also has a newsletter called "Keep the Beat." This monthly newsletter incorporates recipes, jokes and stories submitted by the members themselves, as well as informative statistics regarding heart diseases. Patients who are visited by the Mended Hearts members will receive the newsletter, and will continue to get it free for three months; those who have already joined will receive the letter as long as they are members.

The membership fee to become a part of The Mended Hearts is $17 a year for first time single members, and $24 per family. To renew a single membership it is $12; $17 for a family. To become a lifetime member, you can purchase the single membership for $150 or a lifetime family membership for $210.

To learn more about The Mended Hearts, Inc., contact the national office at (888) 432-7899, or call Rouzer at (510) 357-6207. You may also reach Rouzer via email at

The Mended Hearts Support Group Chapter 162 Meeting
Saturday, April 12
1 - 3 p.m.
Kaiser Permanente Hospital Conference Room C-1
27400 Hesperian Blvd., Hayward
(510) 784-4000

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