ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- A local group of volunteers hopes to ease the stress of heart surgery.
"Well, I had open heart surgery. To wear a red jacket, it is a prerequisite that you have a heart procedure," said Gordon Geddes, Mended Hearts member.
Gordon Geddes says his family was a huge support during his surgery but no one could really relate to his fears, that's when members of the Mended Hearts group helped him. Geddes joined the support group after his recovery and has been a volunteer for 10 years now. He says it's beyond rewarding being able to help others.
"I get more out of the visits than the patients do, I'm sure," added Geddes.
Mended Hearts is a national group of volunteers with a local Rock River Valley chapter. The group meets once a month at SwedishAmerican Heart Hospital but patients from other area hospitals are welcome to join.
"Like everybody else, I thought that was it, that was the end of the line, but Mended Hearts came into the room," said Jim Blank, Mended Hearts member.
Blank says the group left a strong impression on his family and he has been a volunteer for six years now.
"It helped to realize that there are other people that have gone through similar situations and they recover," said Joyce Moderhack, Mended Hearts member.
Moderhack has been volunteering for 13 years now. She says it's the personal connection the group made that helped and inspired her.
"Somebody that hasn't been there, hasn't done it, hasn't gotten the t-shirt, don't get the red jacket," said Geddes.
The group meets every third Monday of the month and invites anyone with heart complications to join them.
To learn more about Mended Hearts click here.