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Giving From the Heart



On a summer day in 1996, Brian Peterson was enjoying time at the lake with his family. He remembers skiing and pulling in the boat. His next memory is of his dad performing CPR on him to revive him from a heart attack. Peterson, owner of Knowles Jewelry in Bismarck, was only 39 years old at the time.

“You are supposed to be at the peak of your life and then you have this life-changing event,” he said. “I had to be on bed rest, at home with my 6-month-old daughter, but I couldn’t pick her up. Then at work, I couldn’t run all day like I was used to. I was frustrated and angry.”

Three years later, in 1999, he experienced a much more severe episode, having two more heart attacks—both in the same day. They first sent Peterson straight to Sanford Bismarck. “I died on the table and the staff brought me back to life,” he said. But while the medical team cared for him, he experienced another heart attack.

Since then, Peterson hasn’t experienced any additional heart emergencies, thanks in part to a healthier lifestyle and a defibrillator in his chest. He counts his blessings for the superior health care at Sanford Bismarck and appreciates each day of his life.

“You realize you have an unknown number of days on this Earth,” Peterson said. “I thank God every morning that I wake up and again every night.”

Peterson also understands how imperative it is to be proactive in one’s health and urges others to get a CT cardiac calcium scoring screening to prevent heart disease. The screenings use a special X-ray to check for plaque buildup on the walls of the coronary arteries. This simple, preventive test can determine heart disease in the early stages and inspired Peterson to establish the Brian Peterson Endowment for CT Cardiac Calcium Scoring through the Sanford Health Foundation in Bismarck.

“My endowment will have a positive impact on people who are still alive,” Peterson said. “I’m looking for lasting impact, and an endowment is ever-giving. It will always be there and always give back.”

Peterson’s endowment will provide on-going, permanent support for Sanford Health Bismarck’s Heart Center of Excellence and, and one day will allow people to receive free CT cardiac calcium scoring screenings to help save their lives.

Endowed gifts to the Heart Center of Excellence enhance the quality of health care for generations to come. As technology and technique evolves, endowed funds can provide ever-improving equipment and advanced training for staff and physicians so patients like Peterson can receive immediate life-saving care.

For more information about leaving a legacy at Sanford by creating a named endowment, visit Bismarck.SanfordHealth.org/Foundation or call (701) 323-8450.

Posted Date: January 2014

Giving From the Heart

Peterson personally knows how imperative it is to be proactive in one’s health and urges others to get a CT cardiac calcium scoring screening. This simple test can determine heart disease in the early stages and inspired him to establish the Brian Peterson Endowment for CT Cardiac Calcium Scoring.