Charity spin class raises money for critical care medicine patients and families

February 25, 2019

An energetic crew of 30 health-conscious Texas Children’s employees, some of their friends and one enthusiastic Heart Center patient mom recently teamed up to put a whole new spin on celebrating Heart Month.

The multidisciplinary group of physicians, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, and nutritionists from our cardiac intensive care unit (CICU), along with several employees from other critical care medicine (CCM)-related departments and services, met at RIDE indoor cycling studio in Houston Heights to sweat for a cause, raising money for Texas Children’s CICU and CCM patients and their families in a charity spin class.

“An event like this shows you the kind of amazing people we have at Texas Children’s,” said Dr. Paul Checchia, medical director of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. “Not only does it reflect their dedication to our patients, to give up their personal time – and their sweat – to benefit children with heart disease, but it also shows their dedication to the team, to each other and to their own heart health.”

The idea first came to Dr. Patricia Bastero, Texas Children’s medical director of Simulation for Critical Care Medicine, after the CICU team held two previous spin runs together.

“Lots of us love spin – it gives you strength and cardio, it’s great for you,” she said. “But it’s also a great way to bond with friends. I thought, ‘Why not take it a step further and do it to benefit our families?’ So we started to spread the word through email, on Facebook and with custom-made flyers, and I want to thank Pamela Biggs for all the work she did in helping us to keep people informed about the event.”

Texas Children’s has one of the nation’s largest, busiest and highest-acuity critical care services. Each year more than 6,000 children are admitted to our intensive care units, including approximately 800 children with heart disease admitted to our CICU, the majority of whom have undergone heart surgery. Understandably, because of the complex nature of these cases, critical care treatment can be stressful for patient and family. It can also mean lengthy stays or lots of travel to the hospital, which can add up.

The funds raised through the charity spin class will help defray some of those costs incurred during hospital visits, such as parking or gas.

“An event like this not only raises much-needed funds to support out families, but it’s an incredible team-building event,” said Dr. Lara Shekerdemian, Texas Children’s chief of Critical Care. “We are lucky to have ICU and Heart Center teams whose commitment to our patients extends beyond the doors of the ICU. Excellent teamwork outside leads to even better teamwork and patient care in our ICUs.”

The event was so popular that there are already plans for future charity spin classes. Bastero also hopes it inspires other groups in the hospital to host similar events, both for our patients’ health and their own.

“There are so many groups across the hospital that do similar things for patients and their families, but every little bit helps,” she said. “When many people join together for a common purpose, we can make a bigger difference.”

Learn more about the CICU and critical care services at Texas Children’s Hospital.