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Providing a vehicle for saving lives


Volunteers to the Save-A-Heart Foundation are presenting Natalie Cole in concert June 6 as the group's annual fund-raiser.

The evening's events begin at 8:30 p.m. at the Lyric Opera House. In addition to the concert, the event will also honor several celebrities who have helped this 21-year-old voluntary organization provide life-saving cardiac care equipment for heart patients in Baltimore-area hospitals and other emergency centers.

"Tickets are available by calling the Foundation offices," says volunteer Gloria Kurland. "The Natalie Cole concert is the first such fund-raiser we have held. Others have been golf classics or a casino night at Pimlico. All of them . . . help us continue our life-saving work," she says.

Ms. Kurland, an exuberant woman, has volunteered to the foundation for 11 years.

"I do just about anything here," she says. "I deal with the public, sell tickets and coordinate fund-raisers. And for this event I am box-office chairman," she adds, noting that in her spare time, she loves theater and languages. "I am studying French and Hebrew," she says.

Save-A-Heart was founded in 1971 by Bernard Sapperstein, who had life-saving heart surgery and wanted to make sure others would also benefit from the equipment that helped save his life.

Since its beginning, Save-A-Heart has contributed $4.2 million in gifts of vital equipment to local hospitals as well as advanced life support ambulances to ambulance rescue companies and volunteer fire companies, along with other contributions.

The foundation pledged $875,000 to the recently dedicated Dr. George M. Ramapuram critical and progressive care unit at Baltimore County General Hospital and $500,000 to the hospital's Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory.

Save-A-Heart also pledged $175,000 to the Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital for monitoring equipment for premature babies and $21,230 for emergency equipment for the Middle River Volunteer Ambulance Rescue Company.

The foundation has two paid staff members. Sylvia Dantzic has served with the foundation since its beginning and has been public relations director for 10 years. Doris Gary is the foundation's executive secretary and manager. The two serve for a 15-member volunteer board of trustees, a 35-member board of directors and 12 medical advisers, along with about 2,000 dues-paying members.

"Every day," says Ms. Dantzic "volunteers contribute their time to the office, but many more are needed. We need help with clerical work, fund-raisers and answering the telephone."

The Save-A-Heart 1992 Humanitarian Honoree will be Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass, Baltimore entrepreneur and philanthropist. The group's annual Jerry Turner Memorial Award, always presented to an outstanding local or national broadcaster, will go to Sheilah Kast, ABC News correspondent for business and economics in Washington, D.C. The awards will be presented by Stanley T. Levinson a, Save-A-Heart founder, and Marcellus Alexander, vice president and general manager of WJZ-TV, the media sponsor for the concert.

Denise Koch, Channel 13 anchor-woman, will be the evening's host.

Save-A-Heart is located at 302 Reisterstown Road, Baltimore, 21208. To volunteer, donate to the foundation or for tickets to the Natalie Cole concert, call 653-3131.

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