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Peconic Bay Medical Center has just launched the regional health care system’s largest philanthropy initiative in the hospital’s history.

To kick things off, more than 300 people from across Long Island were on hand for the Annual Spring Gala to help launch the New Era Capital Campaign.

Intended to establish Peconic Bay as eastern Suffolk County’s regional medical center, the campaign supports the development of an advanced heart center, a major critical care tower, and expanded emergency medical services for the region.

The campaign is already more than 70 percent of the way toward its stated goal of $28 million, having raised more than $20 million in pledged donations from an impressive roster of generous donors, according to officials for PBMC, which is based in Riverhead and has an ambulatory campus in Manorville off Exit. 70.

“For too long, the East End has been isolated from the kinds of life-saving medical resources that are available to other residents of the Tri-State area,” said Andrew Mitchell, president and CEO of Peconic Bay Medical Center.

“This truly is the beginning of a ‘New Era’ of health care for our region.”

The ultimate goal is about saving lives, said John Kanas of the John and Elaine Kanas Family Foundation. Kanas is the former head of North Fork Bank  and the current chair of BankUnited of Florida.

“During a heart attack, time is life,” Kanas said. “If cardiac care can be performed here in a timely way, we will save lives and strengthen the communities we serve.”

In recognition of the Kanas’ $5 million gift to the campaign, the new cardiac center will be designated as The Kanas Heart Center.

The New York State Department of Health approved two cardiac catheterization and electrophysiology suites, as well as a rooftop helipad, in March. The Kanas Regional Heart Center will be housed in PBMC’s new $60-million Critical Care Tower.

“Peconic Bay Medical Center is one of the newest hospitals to join Northwell Health. The cornerstone of our partnership with Peconic Bay Medical Center is to bring much needed advanced cardiac and trauma services to the residents of the East End,” said Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health. “We thank the donors that have supported this effort to date and encourage others to help us reach our goal.

“By partnering with us, our donors play an integral part in providing the level of health care our community needs and deserves.”

Related: Patchogue R.N. named administrative director of of PBMC’s new ‘cath labs’

As co-chairs of the New Era Capital Campaign, Emilie Roy Corey and Dr. Stanley Katz have been instrumental in marshaling resources and focusing the campaign’s efforts, according to PBMC.

“The outpouring of support we received during the initial phase of the campaign was inspiring,” said Mrs. Corey, who is also board chair of the Peconic Bay Medical Center Foundation. “People are realizing our community has some glaring needs, and they are eager to do their part to address those needs.”

“This really is a rally to overcome a life-and-death crisis,” said Dr. Katz, one of New York’s leading cardiologists. “When every second counts, it is vital to have local access to top flight emergency medicine like the new trauma center and cath lab facilities this campaign is supporting.”

Held at the Royalton Farms Equestrian Center in Mattituck, the Peconic Bay Medical Center Spring Gala brought together an assemblage of the Suffolk’s most generous civic and business leaders, some of whom had already made substantial donations to the New Era Capital Campaign.

The Royalton Farms Equestrian Center in Mattituck. (courtesy photos)

“We are proud of the way Peconic Bay Medical Center has been responding to the growing needs of our community,” said Peggy McNally-Zinberg, Chair of the Spring Gala organizing committee. “Our Spring Gala is one way we can both celebrate our shared accomplishments and provide support for future initiatives. We are especially proud to be part of the launch of the New Era Capital Campaign.”

Under Mrs. McNally-Zinberg’s leadership, the event celebrating the launch of the campaign, has raised more than $400,000 to support these initiatives.

The New Era Capital Campaign has already surpassed the record achievement of Peconic Bay Medical Center’s last campaign, which raised just over $13 million. PBMC gratefully acknowledges the principal donors who have generously provided the following cornerstone gifts to date: The John and Elaine Kanas Family Foundation, whose $5 million gift will support the Kanas Regional Heart Center; Joseph & Annette Irom ($3.6 million); Emilie Roy and Michael Corey ($3 million); and Peggy and Stanley Zinberg, MD ($1 million).

In addition, the family of the late Robert Entenmann and its advisory committee will make a recommendation to the New York Community Trust for a $5 million gift to Peconic Bay Medical Center for this effort.

“The success of these Capital Campaigns is a testament not just to the quality of our medical center but to the vitality of our community,” said Sherry Patterson, chair of the Peconic Bay Medical Center board of directors. “The East End has one of the world’s highest standards of quality of life, and through the support, involvement and leadership of our local residents, we are also well on the way to achieving one of the world’s highest standards of health care quality as well.”

For more information about the New Era Capital Campaign, including participation and sponsorship opportunities, email Samantha Vigliotta, vice president, Foundation and External Affairs at svigliotta@northwell.edu, or call 631-548-6080.

Photos courtesy of Peconic Bay Medical Center.