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Mended Hearts Support Group

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While in the hospital, you may receive a visit from a member of the Mended Hearts visitation team. Members of the visitation team visit heart patients and family members. These volunteers have had heart surgery, heart attacks and other heart conditions.

The purpose of this group is to give you support along with the opportunity to talk with someone who has experienced a situation similar to your own.

A letter from the president

“It’s great to be alive — and to help others.”

Welcome! I am Blanche Smithers, President of Mended Hearts, Inc., Chapter 127 in Cookeville, Tennessee. On behalf of all our members, I would personally like to invite you to come and join us in the most supportive, caring and sharing group in the Upper Cumberland for heart patients and their families.

Why can we say this? Because most of our members have likely experienced the same general type of heart trauma that you have undergone, or surgery that you may be considering. No one, other than someone who has “been there, done that,” can as completely relate to the physical, emotional, spiritual and other changes that are occurring in your life . . . nor as completely share with you that the doubts and fears you may be having are normal and should be expected. Heart patients and families gain hope by meeting our members who listen to their concerns, relieve their anxieties, share their own experiences and serve as living proof that you can be a healthy survivor of heart disease.

Administrators and professional cardiac staff at Cookeville Regional Medical Center (CRMC) consider Mended Hearts an integral part of their support network for heart patients.

As you browse through this section, you will not only learn about our parent national organization, Mended Hearts, Inc., but more specifically about our local chapter, its members, activities, programs, and the information and educational resources that are available to you.

I want you to know that you can live a fulfilling, productive and happy life after heart surgery. Through our visiting programs, support group meetings and educational forums provided by our all-volunteer members, you can not only regain control of your life, but learn how you can provide support to others.

I sincerely hope that Mended Hearts can be of help to you — in a personal rather than a technical or medical way — and that in time you, too, may be drawn to “give back,” share your experiences with others, and JOIN US in mending hearts.


Want to help but don’t have the time to get fully involved? Support your local chapter through donations.

All of the funds raised by chapter members from sponsored events or activities go directly toward the purchase of community AEDs, supporting the CRMC rehabilitation program, and meeting the objectives of Mended Hearts.

Mended Hearts Inc. is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. You can be assured that any donations to Chapter 127 are used wisely and effectively.

Donations are made to support chapter programs not only by individuals, but also by local civic organizations, churches and businesses.

Families of cardiac patients who have received hope, encouragement and other support during their surgery or recovery may make donations.

Memorial donations may be made in lieu of flowers. Provide a return address, and Mended Hearts will mail an acknowledgment and “thank you” card.

Any donations may also be made anonymously. All donations are appreciated and can be earmarked for any purpose.

Donations can be sent to the Chapter 127 Treasurer at the following address:

Mended Hearts
c/o Blanche Smithers
520 Jamestown Road
Cookeville, TN 38501



Chapter 127, where members and heart patients and families support one another, meets on the third Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. in Education Rooms 2, 3 and 4 (East Entrance) of the Cookeville Regional Medical Center at 1 Medical Center Boulevard.

Meetings are not just open to former heart patients, but are open to everyone, including spouses and friends who perhaps have already been supportive during the most critical times and to others who simply wish to become personally involved in the mission of Mended Hearts.

We have fun, we share, we smile, we laugh, we listen, we show compassion, we encourage . . . because, individually and as a group, we no longer take life for granted.

Programs and Activities

There are a number of programs Mended Hearts members raise funds for:

One of the most successful Chapter 127 programs is that of raising funds through chapter activities and events to provide automated external defibrillators (AED’s) and mannequins throughout the Cookeville, Putnam County and Upper Cumberland area. Mended Hearts Chapter 127 has purchased and distributed more than 300 mannequins in Putnam and surrounding county schools. Mannequins are used to teach all high school students how to perform CPR and use an AED.

Annually, nearly a quarter million Americans die of sudden cardiac arrest. What is cardiac arrest? Cardiac arrest is the sudden, abrupt loss of heart function. The victim may or may not have diagnosed heart disease. Sudden death (also called sudden cardiac death) occurs within minutes after symptoms appear. Quick action is essential in treating cardiac arrests because they may cause brain and heart damage. For each minute following a cardiac arrest, the probability of survival decreases about 7 percent. After 10 minutes, resuscitation is doubtful. This means immediate treatment is needed to restart the heart in order to survive. The best treatment for restarting the heart is defibrillation, a series of electrical shocks applied to the heart.

An automated external defibrillator, or AED, is an automated, computerized medical device that is capable of checking a person’s heart rhythm and, when necessary, providing an appropriate electrical shock that may “reset” the heart to an acceptable, normal rhythm.

It has been proven that if a person has some form of heart attack where there is an AED, and a knowledgeable person is available to administer a mild shock to re-establish a normal heart rhythm and circulation, that chances of survival are increased significantly (up to 80 percent).

AEDs are very accurate and easy to use, and they can advise a rescuer or trained person when a shock is needed. The AED uses voice prompts, lights and text messages to advise what steps to take and when.

Funding for purchase of the AEDs is accomplished through Mended Hearts Inc. Chapter 127 fund-raising events such as silent auctions and bake sales, as well as through private donations. In some cases, AEDs are provided through a cost-sharing program with recipient organizations in order to permit more AEDs to be placed throughout the community. Additionally, several businesses and organizations in the Cookeville area fully support the AED program and provide grants to assist in their purchase.

In support of Chapter 127 programs, a silent auction is held annually in Education Rooms 1, 2, 3 and 4 (East Entrance) in the Cookeville Regional Medical Center. Chapter members solicit local individuals, businesses and organizations for items that are to be donated for the auction.

Local merchants have been extremely supportive of the local chapter of Mended Hearts and are familiar with the many exceptional programs they offer.

Items are available for viewing and bidding throughout the day. The highest bidder is notified of their successful bid.

The major portion of proceeds from the silent auction goes toward the purchase of AEDs for the Cookeville and surrounding area.

Fill out the attached form and mail it and payment to the address listed.