Saint Alphonsus Festival of Trees to benefit Cardiac Rehab Center

Saint Alphonsus Festival of Trees beneficiary.

BOISE - Saint Alphonsus Festival of Trees is a way a lot of locals kick off the Christmas season, but for the hospital every year the meaning of the festival changes. Last year the money raised went to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and this year that money will benefit Saint Al's Cardiac Rehabilitation Center.

For Christian Koppenhafer, visits to the rehab center come three times a week every week. For the last two months he's been here going through an exercise-based program.

"I worked out a lot 20 years ago but just got away from it," said Koppenhafer.

He's recovering from cardiac arrest in early September and triple bypass surgery 10 days later. 

"It was just like what do I have to do to get better?" said Koppenhafer. "I'm getting my strength back, getting my lungs back open again."

Dr. Jennifer Anderson is a cardiologist and she sees patients on their worst days. 

"I see folks that have had heart attacks, have had stints and that have come into the hospital very, very sick," said Dr. Anderson.

It's in this room full of treadmills and other exercise equipment that miracles happen.  

"It's exceptionally important and I don't think people realize that," Dr. Anderson said. 

MORE: Festival of Trees will light up Boise Centre

Not only do the patients get physically stronger, studies show major improvements later down the road.  

"We have studies that show that people who participate in programs like this have a much much lower risk of death as well as hospitalizations in a short period of time," said Dr. Anderson.

The program isn't only about monitoring exercise. 

"It includes nutrition counseling, it includes risk factor modification, helping people to stop smoking or helping their cholesterol and blood pressure for example," Dr. Anderson said. 

Money raised from Festival of Trees will not only go toward expanding the space, the rehab center will also be getting four new monitors so more patients can be in center at once. They'll also be able to upgrade some equipment and also provide some scholarships for those who can't afford the resources. 

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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