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A Lifesaving Neighbor

The Cerniglias knew they wanted to give back to NCH, and joining the President's Circle made it easy

About a decade ago, cardiac arrest patient Frank Cerniglia opened his eyes in Northwest Community Hospital's (NCH's) Intensive Care Unit to find Jay Cowen, MD, on top of him, pounding his chest to restart his heart. Just a few years later, Frank's wife, Barb, met a new neighbor and recognized him immediately as Dr. Cowen. She greeted him, saying, "You're the doctor who saved my husband's life!"

For the Cerniglias, NCH is truly a lifesaving neighbor. A longtime heart patient, Frank now has a pacemaker. His 1989 open heart surgery was at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, but he often needs emergency treatment and outpatient services closer to his home in Kildeer. "I've been really impressed with the caliber of the doctors [at NCH]—and the much faster, more efficient care now available in the new ER," he says.

Barb is equally pleased with NCH's Lake Zurich Immediate Care Center, where she takes Frank for laboratory tests. She says, "They're so good to us there. I pull up and they meet us right away with a wheelchair. They're always so kind."

Both raised in Chicago, the Cerniglias' deep roots in the northwest suburbs go back to the 1960s and '70s, when they raised their four children in Arlington Heights and relied on NCH for family health needs. Barb remembers working on a door-to-door fundraising campaign for the Hospital, and their youngest child was born at NCH in 1962.

Starting in 1970, Frank built up his own insurance brokerage, S & C Insurance Center, first located in Mount Prospect. Now retired, but still a salesman at heart, Frank contacted the NCH Foundation recently to see if he could help out. After talking it over with gift officer Maggie McLaughlin, he and Barb decided to start by joining the President's Circle, NCH's giving society for donors who contribute $1,000 or more each year to the Hospital.

"We have a long history with Northwest Community, and we feel honored to become members. Contributing is a way to say thank you for all the services we've received," Frank says.

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Last Updated 04/10/2009