One heart at a time, protecting our community's health

February 28, 2022
The Foundation
5 min read


In August 2019, at the unveiling of Mount Nittany Medical Center’s new 26,000-square-foot, $15 million cardiovascular pavilion— funded in part through generous community support—Kathy Fescemyer had tears in her eyes as she spoke to cardiologist Albert Zoda for the first time. Four years earlier, Dr. Zoda had placed a stent in Kathy’s artery that saved her life.

Kathy, who began experiencing shoulder pain in early November 2015, was given a stress test that she couldn’t complete. “I was so tired, I couldn’t do it,” she says. “The next day I baked five or six batches of muffins for my son’s bake sale and delivered them downtown. The day after that, Saturday, I was home with my husband, sitting on the couch, and the only way I know how to say it is that I keeled over. I have no idea what happened because I have no memories until the following Monday or Tuesday.”

When Kathy collapsed, her husband, Howard, performed CPR on her until the Ferguson Township police and Centre LifeLink EMS arrived. “They kept my heart going on the way to the hospital and when they got me there, Dr. Zoda put a stent in,” says Fescemyer, who is a retired librarian for Penn State Life Sciences Library. “I was sedated, and they didn’t know how long I had been without oxygen so they didn’t know what I was going to come out like.”

Howard was in the room with a number of medical staff when Kathy was taken off sedation. “They could see that I recognized Howard, and I don’t remember this, but he tells me a cheer went up. I was back, and I was me.”

Kathy emphasizes aspects of her hospital stay beyond her medical care. “The food was great—they did a wonderful job,” she says. She is also grateful to another group of employees. “The custodial staff was a real comfort to me,” she says. “They were always busy cleaning, but they took time to chat with me as they worked. We talked about books, TV shows, movies, the weather . . . and it was so calming. It was so nice to talk about something besides what was going on health wise. The custodial staff gave me something not quite definable, and I will always be thankful to them.”

Kathy’s cardiac care at Mount Nittany Health has given her longer, fuller life.

She says, “In the hospital, one of my first questions to my cardiologist, Dr. Bradbury, was ‘Will I ever be able to climb a lighthouse again?’ He answered, ‘I hope so.’ Well, since that time I have climbed lighthouses, walked many beaches collecting seashells, inherited a little dog, and went to the best wedding ever—my son, William, and his bride, Anna. I am grateful to my husband, Howard, Ferguson Township Police, Centre Lifelink EMS, Dr. Zoda, Mount Nittany Physician Group Cardiology, and Dr. Bradbury for helping me survive and thrive.”

"We are so grateful to our generous donors for their contributions to ensure state-of-the-art cardiac care continues to evolve and advance at Mount Nittany Health. Philanthropy provides us a margin of excellence, allowing us to stand ready for all  who suffer sudden cardiac arrest and need us to administer life-saving care," shares Simon Corby, executive director, Mount Nittany Health Foundation.

When you give to Mount Nittany Health Foundation, it helps keep our community safe and healthy. Our cardiology care is among the best in Pennsylvania - which means we can provide best in class healthcare for all who need us! To learn more about how your donation saves lives or call 814.234.6777.

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