Posted by Leigh Hewer on Aug 18, 2020
President Teresa (left) introduced newly appointed Assistant District Governor Dr. Carmen Larsen. Dr. Larsen was Kalamalka Rotary President 2019-20 and their Rotarian of the year in 2017 before taking on her new roll as ADG. Carmen became a Rotarian in 2014 after her family relocated to Vernon BC, she is married to Jacek Szudek (local otolaryngologist) and they have three daughters. Larsen is a family physician who works in Vernon and Armstrong as a locum physician, operating room assist, walk-in clinic physician, site director for the Southern Medical Program, Vernon Cadet Training Centre medical officer and training of 3rd year UBC medical students. Carmen initiated the Rotary Starfish Pack Program that provides a backpack full of food for underprivileged children in the area to take home for the weekend.
Carmen’s involvement in community began at a young age helping her parents with church fundraisers; she was a candy stripper at the local hospital in Courtney BC and was indirectly involved with Rotary through her Dad’s 24 year association with the Courtney BC Club (1986-2010). That involved hosting Rotary Exchange Students, car rallies and Rotary Group Study Exchanges etc.  Carmen was selected, after a competitive speech at the Courtney Club, to be their selection as a RYLA participant in 1988 in Tacoma Washington, 1990-91 she was selected as a Rotary Exchange Student to Belgium, later Carmen worked for a mining company in China, then after entrance to medical school Carmen. After each of these events she would return to speak at her Dad’s Club. Carmen also spoke one week after her fathers’ untimely death at age 65 of a sudden heart attack in 2011. In addition to Carmen’s Rotary involvement her brother is also a member of the Parksville Club.
Today Carmen spoke to us about heart attacks, the importance of being aware and not ignoring even the sometimes mild warning signs. Changes in one’s health, chest tightness, discomfort or pain, shortness of breath where three months ago there was no issue, pain in your arms or jaw, feeling of unusual indigestion or gas. Having to sit longer to catch your breath after activity, for women the feeling is often more a feeling of indigestion or gas. Do not wait to see if it will go away, do not wait because you might feel silly or embarrassed if it turns out that you are not having heart-related pain. Do not feel you are wasting the doctor’s time or health care resources or that it is unsafe to go the hospital in the time of COVID-19. Just go it is better to be wrong in the hospital than dead at home, your family, friends and community need you. In closing Dr. Larsen thanked Silver Star Rotary for our long association with our mass CPR initiative and the importance of its continuance.