Following his quadruple bypass heart surgery in September, Bill McGuinn awoke one morning, looked out the window of his inpatient rehabilitation room and saw the Congdon Heart and Vascular Center across the Wake Forest Baptist Health High Point Medical Center campus.

He decided to make a quick phone call to one of the many High Point citizens he came to know during his long and successful banking career in the city: Earl Congdon, whose generous gifts helped provide the Heart and Vascular Center that bears his name.

“I had his cell number so I just called him and told him this had become personal for me,” says Bill, doing well after heart surgery at age 88. “I just wanted to thank Earl and his wife Kitty for what they’ve done because it’s made a difference to me. I’m here in part because of what they had the foresight to do.”

Bill hadn’t had reason to use the heart and vascular services at High Point Medical Center until experiencing what felt like gas pain in late summer. A stress test didn’t reveal any problems, but when the pain persisted over several days, he went to the medical center’s emergency department for help.

Doctors there relieved his pain, but cardiologists wanted to learn more. Their tests uncovered a bigger problem.

“They told me, ‘You’re having a heart attack,’” Bill says.

He spent that night at the medical center, and cardiologist Dr. Barry Cheek and cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Robert Ferguson determined he needed open-heart surgery. The surgery was a success. Bill spent four days in the hospital and three weeks recovering in inpatient cardiac rehabilitation.

“It’s a very comfortable place where you get really good professional attention so you can go home and resume a normal lifestyle,” Bill says of the rehab care. “They know how to push just the right amount. I was very pleased with the surgery and with the rehab experience.”

Few people know High Point as well as Bill, a native of the city who has spent his life serving its residents. The former Air Force fighter jet pilot and Duke University graduate worked for Adams Millis Hosiery for a few years before starting a 33-year career in banking, at High Point Bank and Trust and First Citizens Bank. He served as a board member with what was then High Point Regional Hospital and on the High Point City Council. Even after retiring, Bill worked as a banking consultant until age 80.

“I was honored to have had that opportunity,” he says. He also feels the city is fortunate to have High Point Medical Center and its many services, including heart and vascular care.

“Wake Forest Baptist has enabled High Point Medical Center to be a wonderful hospital,” he says. “They keep it vital and doing things that are important, like bypass operations and heart care. It’s important to High Point, and I thank Wake Forest Baptist for that.”

Heart Strides is High Point Medical Center’s Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program. Annually, Heart Strides helps hundreds of patients improve their quality of life and helps prevent future heart and lung recurrences through exercise, nutrition, counseling, education and behavior modification. This program is provided primarily with support from gifts to the High Point Regional Health Foundation. Consider making a gift now to support this vitally important program.