A Gift from the Heart Al and Denise Frink Donor Story
This donor story begins with a young lady, Annie Capaldi, whose story is the inspiration for a major planned gift from donors Al and Denise Frink. Annie, a talented high school athlete, was diagnosed in 2009 with a serious heart defect. This condition not only impaired her ability to compete in athletics, but also affected her ability to live life to the fullest.
Annie's parents, Cathy and Michael, turned to cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Daniel Bethencourt. A pioneer in minimally invasive robotic-assisted procedures, Dr. Bethencourt performed surgery using the da Vinci robot and successfully repaired Annie's heart. Annie walked out of the hospital two days later, with only three tiny scars, and quickly returned to a normal, active life.
A year later, thanks to the vision and determination of Chief of Cardiology, Dr. Steven Schiff, Orange Coast Memorial opened one of the first hybrid cardiovascular interventional suites in the country, and the very first of its kind in Orange County.
This state-of-the art suite is designed for open-heart surgeries such as cardiac bypass and valve replacements, as well as minimally invasive catheter-based procedures like angioplasty and the placement of coronary artery stents. Eager to offer the benefits of robotic-assisted procedures to patients like Annie at Orange Coast Memorial, we embarked on a capital campaign to raise funds to purchase a da Vinci robot.
Upon hearing Annie's story, Al and Denise Frink didn't hesitate for a moment. Their generous gift to the Orange Coast Memorial Foundation helped make our dream a reality and launched our robotic surgical program under the guidance of Dr. Bethencourt, now medical director of the MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Memorial. Not wanting to accept any recognition themselves, Al and Denise asked that we name our cardiovascular suite after Annie.
The Annie Capaldi Heart Revitalization Suite, also known as "Annie's Suite," was officially named in her honor on June 25, 2014.