Donor challenges Riverwood supporters with matching gift

Goal to raise $100,000 for advanced reflux care

An anonymous donor couple from the Aitkin area is challenging Riverwood Healthcare Center supporters with a $50,000 one-to-one matching gift for the advanced treatment of heartburn and reflux.

The gift comes just in time for the 2015 Riverwood Gala on Sept. 26, where attendees will hear from Dr. Paul Severson, general surgeon and reflux specialist, about the cutting edge diagnostic and treatment options that these funds will make possible.

Reflux disease is very common today. One in five American adults suffers from GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), which is the result of a weak muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter. This weakness allows stomach acids and bile to splash into the esophagus and throat. The acids can damage the linings of the esophagus and cause heartburn, chest pain, regurgitation, sore throat and frequent coughing. Left untreated, it can lead to serious complications, including esophageal cancer. Medications can be effective for managing many of the symptoms, but GERD is a progressive disease and the medications don’t solve the problem of the weakened muscle.

“It’s been inspiring to work with this generous couple to help match their passion and resources to this health care need within our community,” Riverwood Foundation Director Katie Nelson explains. “It is truly an honor for Riverwood Foundation to receive this lead gift. We look forward to engaging with the community to build upon this transformational contribution.”

The Foundation has set a goal of raising $50,000 at the Gala fundraiser, and from other donors, to match the lead gift for a total of $100,000.Those interested in donating to support advanced reflux and heartburn care may contact Katie Nelson at (218) 927-5158.

Riverwood Gala tickets are still available through the Foundation office at (218) 927-8286. This Sept. 26 event, featuring culinary delights from local chefs, a robust silent auction, and live musical entertainment, will be held at the 40 Club Banquet Center in Aitkin.