A Program of the Medtronic Foundation

Igor Chamilla
Bakken Winner Igor Chamilla 

Igor Chamilla, 59

2014 Bakken Invitation Honoree

Sliac, Slovakia
Charity: KardioKlub SK

Medical Condition: Cardiovascular Disease, Heart Attack, Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Medical Therapy: Stents and Pacemaker

I Want to Share My Inspiring Story

Igor's "extra life"Inspires Me

After Igor Chamilla’s cardiac arrest, bypass surgery and pacemaker implant, he decided to learn everything he could about his disease and how to live a full life with it. But that wasn’t enough for him. He now offers educational courses for about 2,000 cardiac patients a year in Slovakia through his foundation, KardioKlub SK.

Igor's Story

"My father died in 1975 of a heart attack. That was my primary inspiration to engage with patients with serious illnesses, and I studied this issue at Comenius University in Bratislava. In 2000, I became a patient with a serious illness.

"In 2000, I experience a heart attack followed by sudden cardiac arrest. These events caused severe cardiac deficiencies, and threatened my life. I received stents, and had bypass surgery. My health improved, but I still was having trouble and my heart was not functioning at full capacity.

"In 2010, I received a pacemaker and my health has greatly improved. I have been given at least 14 years of extra life, and love using them to help other people with heart disease.

"Today I am the founder and president of Kardioklub SK (Cardioclub Slovakia), a national non-profit patient association. My efforts are targeted at prevention and awareness for healthy people, and especially to cardiac patients in need of any assistance. Many people give up quickly and remain apathetic to life and their family. So I am an example for all with a sick heart. Every day I talk to people and give information about the possibility of new life. I am always delighted when a person with the disease will "come back to life." It is my joy and victory."

Igor's words of inspiration

"When you teach, you learn."

"After my heart attack, I first felt it was the end of my life, family, friends and work. No – it's not true! I have a new life, new friends, good family and new knowledge!"

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inspire others

$20,000 Grant Makes an Impact

KardioKlub SK is a nationwide, voluntary, patient association bringing together citizens of the Slovak Republic with heart-related conditions to address their social, economic, and psychological needs.


Learn about other 2014 Honorees »

*Not everyone who receives this therapy will receive the same results as the patient in this story. Talk with your doctor to determine if this type of therapy is right for you. Please refer to Important Safety Information for Stents or Important Safety Information for Pacemakers.