Polk County circle of giving

Published 11:47 am Monday, December 18, 2023

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It’s Christmas time, and I want to share some thoughts on giving. Giving circles connects people and shared values to raise funds for common goals. Individuals, communities and foundations multiply impact for change in fundamental ways.

Polk County residents, neighboring communities and local foundations have established a collaborative giving circle that has grown from an idea to a community fixture. Together, you all have elevated St. Luke’s ability to deliver best-in-class care to area citizens in need. Whereas we were once a small rural hospital that dispensed primary healthcare, today, St. Luke’s is one of the top-rated critical access hospitals in the country, and our complex services are now world-class. This remarkable transformation would not have been possible without your giving.

And the Circle Expands

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Through community donations made to the Foundation for St. Luke’s Hospital, St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Center was able to upgrade its Biodex Balance System to the most comprehensive model. The Biodex helps improve balance, increase agility, develop muscle tone and treat various pathologies. St. Luke’s Rehabilitation is fortunate to be one of the few area facilities to have this equipment. 

Amanda Thompson, Executive Director at the Foundation, said, “We don’t always want to be the people asking for donations; we also want to give back.” 

As I mentioned in an article last month, most of our community giving is behind the scenes. But occasionally, when we upgrade equipment, we can donate the replaced equipment. We donated our original Biodex Balance System, which has many years of usefulness remaining, to the athletic department at Polk County High School.

“The St. Luke’s Athletic Training Program is truly grateful for the opportunity to upgrade the level of on-site patient care to the student-athletes at Polk County High School,” said Jason Nussbaum, St. Luke’s Athletic Trainer. “The Biodex Balance Unit provides tremendous technology for our athletes in rehabilitation and injury prevention. Training the body’s proprioceptors, the nerve cells that sense our position in space is key to maintaining a stable position in nearly every athletic activity. After an injury, damaged tissues need retraining due to impairment and lack of use. Athletes wanting to prevent injury or improve performance can ‘over-train’ these cells to be extra sensitive for enhanced control and greater dynamic movements. Polk athletes have commented that this new tool is more like playing a video game than doing rehab, as they must match the moving dot on the screen to the intended target!”

Earlier in the year, through a generous grant from the Turner-Tennant Foundation, St. Luke’s Athletic Training purchased a state-of-the-art electrical stimulation and therapeutic ultrasound unit for Polk athletes. 

“This unit is a game-changer with many applications within Sports Medicine,” Nussbaum says. “A notable example came in the spring with a state champion in track. The athlete had undergone an extensive procedure in the fall but received clearance to run by the out-of-town surgeon. However, the athlete struggled to jog a lap around the track at the start of the spring season. During the recovery, the athlete lost the muscle memory essential to activate key thigh muscles that control the kneecap. Thanks to a waveform called ‘Russian Current’ provided by the new ultrasound unit and intensive muscle training, the athlete was able to re-activate the VMO (Vastus Medialis Oblique) and began to build the strength that would result in a 13th-place finish out of nearly 150 runners in the 1A State Championship this fall!”

Butterfly Effect

The butterfly effect is the idea that small, seemingly trivial events may ultimately result in something with much more significant consequences. You, our donors, are Polk’s butterfly effect. Your philanthropy has enabled us to dramatically improve St. Luke’s Hospital, which has enhanced the lives of many in our community and now student-athletes in our county. YOU ARE THE DIFFERENCE MAKERS. And we thank you for your continued support and generosity.

If you have a healthcare topic of interest or want to learn more about St. Luke’s Hospital, please note me at Michelle.Fortune@slhnc.org. Also, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn or visit our website at StLukesNC.org.