Eisenhower’s Circle of Stars aims to raise $500,000 for new ultrasound

Fifty years ago, Dolores Hope and a small group of fearless women joined forces to raise funds to build what is now known as Eisenhower Health. Today, one of its women-led philanthropic arms, circle of starshighlights the significant impact of selfless women sharing a common goal.

“Most of the nonprofits here in the Valley are started by women – women joined by other women, working very hard, physically, emotionally and philanthropically, to make a difference,” says Deborah DeSantis, Senior Director of Major Gifts for Circle of Stars at Eisenhower Health. “Some people just donate money. Other people work to raise that money. I think women do a really good job of raising money rather than just giving money.

The group, which was launched several years ago and now consists of around 140 women, has an annual membership commitment. Additional gifts are also granted. Membership levels vary — from $1,000 to $10,000 — but the group’s sole purpose, DeSantis is quick to note, is to advance health care for the community.

To that end, Circle of Stars funds a specific project at Eisenhower Health each year, whether it is to purchase vital state-of-the-art equipment for dermatology, oncology, pulmonology or cardiology. The 2022 challenge, fittingly, centers on ultrasound technology, which was first used 80 years ago. Constantly evolving, ultrasound has become radiology’s most ingenious tool as it can examine all parts of the body – from revealing various life-threatening pathologies and guiding interventional procedure to follow-up pregnancies.

Tricia Prentice and Jan Salta attend the Circle of Stars Denim, Diamonds and Champagne fundraiser.

With a goal of acquiring approximately $500,000 this year, Circle of Stars has its collective eye on the new Philips EPIQ ultrasound systems, the most technologically advanced tools at this diagnostic level. The impact of modern portable 3D imaging machines can impact the lives of patients throughout the hospital, from obstetrics to the emergency room.

“What’s really good about Circle of Stars is that you can see where your money is going,” says DeSantis. “Our doctors talk about the project before the season, so we know what we are planning. At the end of the season or the start of the next one, they let us know the impact that has been made.

Eisenhower Health and Circle of Stars recently received a grant from the Donor Advised Fund Elissa Hepner through the Inland Empire Community Foundationwhich brings together donors, stakeholders, and nonprofits while developing philanthropic resources to serve those in need.

DeSantis says that since the organization started several years ago, it has grown steadily in terms of commitment and verve. Getting equipment to save lives and improve a patient’s quality of life is of the utmost importance.

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“I always say it’s for your friends, your family, your neighbors and for you,” adds DeSantis.

She specifically notes successful new additions in dermatology and Eisenhower’s mammography system, which was purchased last year.

“Every woman has a mammogram every year,” says DeSantis. “You never know how it will affect your own life. Is it up to you to save the life thanks to this equipment that is financed? »

In addition to wanting Coachella Valley residents near and far to learn more about Eisenhower Health and Circle of Stars, DeSantis draws attention to a recent success story that clearly defines the depth of generosity encountered by the organization.

Barbara Hedges, Margaret Cleveland, JoAnn Nickerson and Heidi Peyton attend the Circle of Stars Denim, Diamonds and Champagne fundraiser.

In 2020, the organization started with a goal of $550,000 to purchase a new, minimally invasive robotic system that would more safely and accurately diagnose lung cancer in its early stages.

“The equipment had recently been cleared by the FDA,” says DeSantis. “The season was just getting started and we raised about $50,000. And then one of our Circle of Stars members realized the importance of this equipment and donated $500,000. We achieved our goal at the start of the season. It was just an amazing and generous gift. We had so much season left that we chose a second project to obtain a nuclear scanner for cardiology. We raised $840,000 that year through a member’s wonderful gift.

All this during a pandemic year.

“These women are amazing,” DeSantis says. “When women are passionate about something, other women step up to the cause. Eisenhower was founded on philanthropy; Dolores Hope started fundraising so we could exist. So we really appreciate our donors – every donation we receive, from the smallest to the largest, makes a huge difference in the lives of our patients.

For more information about Circle of Stars, call (760) 773-1888 or visit eisenhowerhealth.org/giving/ways-to-give/circle-of-stars. Learn more about Eisenhower Health at eisenhowerhealth.org

The Inland Empire Community Foundation strives to strengthen the Southern California interior through philanthropy. Learn more at iegives.org.

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