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Fundraiser benefits Penryn woman waiting for new heart

By: Laura Albright, Loomis News Correspondent
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A Penryn woman is waiting for the lifesaving gift of a heart. Janice Taylor Pallavicini sits in the shade with a backdrop of beautiful horses and arenas at her sister’s Penryn ranch. The ranch will be the location of a fundraiser from 2 to 7 p.m., this Saturday, Sept. 17, called A Heart for Jani. The event includes a barbecue, carriage and pony rides, a raffle, bake sale, silent auction and other activities. Taylor Pallavicini is a level 1B status heart transplant recipient and relies on a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) to keep her alive. According to Stanford Hospital’s website, a LVAD is a battery-operated, surgically implanted device that helps the heart pump blood to the body. Taylor Pallavicini said she inexplicably experienced full cardiac arrest in 1997 while on her way to work in Santa Clara. She said a man, who normally takes an early-morning walk, left later that morning and was there to help her. She said bystanders later recounted that Taylor Pallavicini collapsed in an area surrounded by shrubs, but the man waved his cane in the air, 911 was called, and an ambulance, coincidentally parked across the street, was able to come to her aid. From that day until late November of last year, Taylor Pallavicini was able to maintain her weakened heart with an internal defibrillator and medication. This past winter, a virus complicated her condition and made it impossible for her to leave the hospital.. “It was bitter-sweet when the hospital suggested the LVAD,” said Gary Pallavicini, Taylor Pallavicini’s husband. “This,” Gary Pallavicini points to the Penryn Oak Stables, owned by his sister-in-law Lisa Cope, “is as far as we can be away from Stanford. We can’t travel, visit our family in Reno, but,” he looks at his wife of seven years with a smile, “we have Janice.” The husband and wife duo agree staying positive is important. “Sure, I was depressed in the beginning, but this is our new normal,” Pallavicini said. Taylor Pallavicini said, “Life goes on, it’s a new normal, but it goes on.” According to Stanford’s website, LVADs have traditionally been used as a “bridge-to-transplant,” allowing patients to live long enough to receive a heart transplant. “Many factors determine your eligibility for the transplant list, but I am at 1B status and the top, 1A is next,” Taylor Pallavicini said. When asked about the transplant, Taylor Pallavicini grew serious. “At first it was very hard to come to terms with the idea of a donor,” she said. “But the turning point for me was God’s plan. I believe there is a plan for all of us, and I had to turn the pain around so I can be positive.” She folds her hands. “I pray for the family of the donor every day.” Taylor Pallavicini is excited about the fundraiser this weekend that will help with expenses associated with the upcoming surgery. “It’s not only the transplant that costs so much, it’s afterwards,” she said. Taylor Pallavicini said her husband retired in order to care for her. “I have to stay near Stanford Hospital for four to six weeks after I’m released. It costs a lot.” Not only have Taylor Pallavicini’s family and friends banned together for her, but the small businesses of Loomis and Penryn have as well. “Many small businesses have made donations for the fundraiser. I can’t thank them enough,” she said. With her LVAD bag over her shoulder, Taylor Pallavicin makes her way back to the stables where she greets friends on horseback and prepares to continue on with her day standing by her motto, “life goes on.” HEART FOR JANI What: Barbecue dinner, “show-n-shine” with car judging and awards, carriage rides, pony rides, petting zoo, face painting, raffle, bake sale, DJ and silent auction. Who: Benefit for Janice Taylor Pallavicini’s heart transplant surgery When: 2 to 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 17 Where: Penryn Oak Stables, 2460 Del Mar Ave., Penryn Cost: $15 adults, $5 children, includes meal and drink. Donations: Wells Fargo Acct #7938196768 payable to “Heart for JT.” Information: (775) 338-0561, ash1027taylor@hotmail.com