American Heart Association Luncheon
Spotlights Local Survivor

Steve Golis, Marsha Griggs, Thomas Johansen, and Karen Chackel 

The American Heart Association held its 23rd annual Go Red for Women Luncheon on Friday, February 8 at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort.The sold out event  featured local heart transplant survivor Thomas Johansen. 

A Realtor with Village Properties, Johansen was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy in 2012 but continued to live a full life. In April 2017, he awoke one morning with ventricular attacks, and spent the next few months in and out of the hospital waiting for a new heart. After weeks of consultation and procedures, Johansen was approved for a transplant. He then spent eight weeks confined to his hospital bed, required to be transplant-ready. During that time, he relied heavily on the cardiac nurses who cared for him. 

Along with Johansen, the luncheon honored five cardiac nurses from Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez Cottage Hospitals: Marsha Griggs, Sharon Morley, Zaida Pascual, Gary Tartar, Sue Weingartner and Samantha Yim, who  were nominated by their peers for their hard work and dedication

Johansen said, “I was grateful to be able to publicly acknowledge the selflessness and amazing support that nurses provide each and every day. They breathe life into patients.”

Village Properties agents came out in force to support Johansen. Company owner Renee Grubb said, “This year’s Go Red event was especially meaningful to me because of Thomas’ sharing of his amazing journey to receive a heart transplant.”

Village Properties Owner Renee Grubb with honoree Thomas Johansen

The Go Red for Women Luncheon Executive Team is responsible for the success of the event and is made up of area business and community leaders, and co-chaired by Karen Chackel of First American Title and Steve Golis of Radius Group Commercial Real Estate.

Dianne Johnson, Karen Chackel, and Brianna Johnson

Local sponsors of the event included Cottage Heart and Vascular Center, Paseo Nuevo Shops & Restaurants, Sansum Clinic, Montecito Bank & Trust, Pacific Western Bank, Radius Group Commercial Real Estate, CenCal Health, First American Title, OnQ Financial, Village Properties, The Towbes Group, Community West Bank and many more.

The annual Go Red for Women campaign raises awareness that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, and encourages them to take preventive measures to reduce their risk. On a national level, the Go Red for Women movement has resulted in 650,000 women’s lives being saved over the last 10 years. For more information, visit    

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