Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Giant hearts will soon pop up in downtown Elkhart

Giant fiberglass hearts, part of an Elkhart General Hospital fundraiser, should start popping up soon in downtown Elkhart.
Posted on Nov. 6, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Nov. 6, 2013 at 4:53 p.m.

ELKHART — Hearts should soon start popping up along downtown Elkhart streets.

Per an Elkhart General Hospital Foundation fundraiser, 20 giant five-foot high fiberglass hearts have been decoratively painted and will later be auctioned off to raise money to expand the hospital’s heart care offerings. The painting is nearly done, and John Housand, executive director of the foundation, said Wednesday, Nov. 6, that the finished hearts will soon be placed along Main Street and Waterfall Drive in the city center.

Others are to be placed around the NIBCO Water and Ice Park east of the city center, and all 20 should be on display by mid-November.

The effort, dubbed the Have a Heart fundraiser, is meant to generate $250,000 for the EGH Center for Cardiac Care. The money is to be used, in part, to purchase high tech equipment allowing the center’s cardiologists to implant ventricular assist devices, necessary for patients awaiting heart transplants. As is, local patients needing such devices have to travel to hospitals in Chicago, Indianapolis and elsewhere.

The EGH Foundation fundraiser mimics a fundraiser by Child and Parent Services, or CAPS. CAPS auctioned off numerous painted fiberglass elk last June to raise money, and some of the big statues remain scattered around Elkhart.

The EGH Foundation hearts, about five-feet high, five-feet wide and two-feet thick, are painted in a variety of colors and designs. They’ll stay on city streets until February or so, and they’ll be auctioned at an event on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14.

The Elkhart Board of Public Works granted the EGH Foundation permission Tuesday to place the heart statutes in public right-of-way, pending the auction.

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