La Plata Medical Society
  What a wonderful community. What a wonderful event!

The 33rd Iron Horse Bicycle Classic will be run on Saturday, May 29. The Citizen Tour starts at the train station in Durango while the racers start at the Durango Community Recreation Center. They will go up over Coal Bank and Molas passes and end in Silverton, 47 miles away. The goal is to beat the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad train to Silverton.

The classic was started by Ed Zink and others in 1972 and has been a wonderful annual event ever since. Year after year, any profits have been donated to charities. This year the event will be supporting the cardiac program at Mercy Medical Center through the Mercy Health Foundation.

There will be about 1,600 healthy men and women on bicycles racing the train to Silverton. As I wouldn't last past Trimble Springs, I think I'll ride the train and talk and eat during the four hours to Silverton.

The profits donated to the Mercy Health Foundation will help in developing the cardiac (heart) program at the hospital. For the last two years the hospital and many citizens have worked hard to get the cardiac surgical program up and functioning.

Although Mercy's cardiac program was placed on hold in late April, the program is still very important. Money raised during the Iron Horse will go toward getting the program going again.

Now we need to go the next step in developing a cardiology interventional program. Specially trained cardiologists can insert a catheter (a very small tube) through the femoral artery in the groin and thread it up into the arteries of the heart.

Angiograms (X-rays of the heart vessels) are then performed. If a block in an artery is seen, then an angioplasty (opening the narrowing with a minute balloon) will be done and a stent (a wire support) inserted to keep the vessel open.

This is now the standard treatment for a heart attack across the country. Angiograms are done at Mercy, but if a stent needs to be inserted then the patient must be sent to Albuquerque or Denver. Hopefully this will soon change and stents will be done in Durango.

There are two ways to contribute to the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. If a person wishes to be a "Sponsor" and have a poster, be mentioned on their Web site or receive a T-shirt, contact Rhonda Unkovskoy at 259-0550. Your contribution is tax deductible.

To receive a tax credit from the state of Colorado, besides the federal tax deduction, write the donation to Mercy Health Foundation and memo it "Heart Fund/Bicycle Classic." The donation should be sent to Mercy Health Foundation, 375 East Park Ave., Durango, CO 81301.

The weekend of May 29 will be exciting. There couldn't be a better community than ours. There couldn't be a better person than Ed Zink.

Dr. John N. Withers is a practicing general surgeon in Durango.

Clinics & Groups • Pharmacies • Health Hints • Hospitals • Physicians • Back Home