In April, our heart services expanded at Providence Portland Medical Center. The newly renovated space is now home to Basecamp Cardiac Prevention + Wellness, which includes the Hal Lesser Cardiac Rehabilitation Center, echocardiogram, electrocardiogram and vascular ultrasound.
As a retired newsman, Hal Lesser had seen a lot – the inside of the Mount St. Helens volcano, the Vietnam war, oil infernos, and hostage dramas. He’d even donned surgical scrubs to film one of the world’s first implantations of a revolutionary artificial heart valve.
In 1996, an angioplasty helped treat his heart attack. Later, in September 2005, he received a new aortic valve that would save his life. “I never thought,” he says, “that I would be on the other end of that table, when I was 24 years old filming that heart transplant.”
Along his heart health journey, Hal has made some significant lifestyle changes and exercised regularly through a program sponsored by Providence.
Today, he’s making it easier for others to recover from heart attacks by making a significant gift to create the Hal Lesser Cardiac Rehabilitation Center, the first such facility at Providence Portland Medical Center. The center will accommodate 400 people and 8,000 visits per year, creating vastly better access for thousands of eastside heart patients.
Always happy with the care he’s received, Hal has contributed regularly to the Providence Portland Medical Foundation since his heart attack. “I’ve been fortunate in my investments and I don’t have an extravagant lifestyle. I just decided I’ll donate now rather than waiting.”
Chuck Douville, M.D., is the surgeon who gave Hal his new heart valve. “Hal is such a great story teller and generous man,” he says. “Anyone who knows him will get a big grin every time they see his name on that center.”
Basecamp will offer many of the same prevention and wellness services such as free educational classes and yoga sessions as are offered at the original Basecamp at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center.
The goal of Basecamp is to empower heart patients and others to become their best, healthiest selves.