By Melissa Bean Sterzick
Joe and Laura Gregorio’s beautiful Rolling Hills home was the perfect
setting for a recent
Torrance Memorial Foundation fundraiser benefitting the
Lundquist Lurie Cardiovascular Institute on February 29. The hilltop and panoramic views of the South Bay reflected
the broad scope of the evening’s purpose: to support the Institute
and continue the best possible heart care for the Torrance Memorial community.
Members of the Foundation gathered for cocktails, hors d’oeuvres
and live music on the Gregorios’ terraced patio, then took their
places for dinner at tables set with crystal stemware, linen napkins and
lavish floral centerpieces. A roaring outdoor fireplace, palm trees draped
in sparkling lights and Torrance Memorial’s insignia projected on
the surface of the pool added to the spectacular backdrop. The objective
of the event was to raise $1 million for the Lundquist Lurie Cardiovascular
Institute. The final number came in at a remarkable $4.4 million.
Torrance Memorial president and CEO Craig Leach, Dr. Chris Matchison, Dr.
Erol Kosar, Dr. Aziz Ghaly, Dr. Mark Lurie, Dr. Mike Wyman, and Melanie
and Richard Lundquist were all called upon to share their thoughts at
Craig Leach celebrated Torrance Memorial receiving seven out of eight American
Heart Association awards for 2019. The honors include recognition for
excellence in care for patients with heart failure and stroke, as well
as high achievement in prescription standards, resuscitation and speed
Dr. Ghaly, who recently joined Torrance Memorial through Cedars-Sinai,
emphasized the impressiveness of the Institute’s new technology
and cutting-edge therapies. Dr. Ghaly said patients at Torrance Memorial
in need of heart care can undergo any procedure, short of a transplant,
without leaving the South Bay.
“I’m really excited and humbled to join Torrance Memorial,”
he said. “The nurses, doctors and facility are all exceptional.
My goal in coming here is to align the two programs. We are to become
one group—to work here as a team.”
While the capabilities of the Lundquist Lurie Cardiovascular Institute
and the advanced cardiac care offered by Torrance Memorial—enhanced
through its partnership with Cedars-Sinai—were front and center,
gratitude was another predominate theme. Torrance Memorial’s leadership,
physicians and donors alike expressed their thanks for the financial support
provided for the Institute to date.
A standing ovation for Melanie and Richard Lundquist was a poignant pause
in the program. When the applause finally stopped, the Lundquists thanked
the donors for supporting the Institute, which was established with their
initial $10 million gift in 2013.
“Melanie and I couldn’t be more pleased to see what has been
accomplished. We are just a little part of what you all do,” Lundquist said.
Melanie Lundquist reiterated her care and concern for those who suffer
cardiovascular disease. She shared a heartfelt account of the couple’s
first collaboration with the Torrance Memorial Foundation and her happiness
with its outcome.
“I don’t think anybody could be prouder than we are to be affiliated
with such an outstanding organization. The improvement in the quality
care that can be provided in our own community is absolutely amazing,”
she said. “For us to have the opportunity to make a difference like
this for the community—there is no better journey.”