Sir Richard Branson will speak and answer questions during a three-hour, $5,000-seat luncheon at noon on Thursday, to benefit the expansion of Baptist Cardiac & Vascular Institute in Miami. The event, hosted by Mike and Constance Fernandez at their home, will be presented by the Baptist Health South Florida Foundation.
Dr. Barry T. Katzen, founder and medical director of Baptist Cardiac & Vascular Institute, who has distinguished himself internationally as a leader in the development of interventional radiology, performed a life-saving cardiovascular treatment for Branson’s wife, Lady Joan Branson.
In appreciation, Branson has made available to the Baptist Health South Florida Foundation one seat on a Virgin Galactic flight to outer space. The $250,000 ticket will be sold at auction during the luncheon, Baptist said.
Among new programs planned by Baptist Cardiac & Vascular Institute is a National Center for Aneurysm Therapy, a Center for Advanced Endovascular Therapy and a Center for Structural Heart Therapy. Most areas of the existing facility are under renovation, and four advanced endovascular procedure suites will be added. Plans designed by HKS Architects call for a 60,000-square-foot addition and a 40,000-square-foot renovation.
Branson is the second high-profile individual to donate support to the Institute during the last few years, following performing artist and Grammy Award-winner Celine Dion. Ms. Dion gave a concert two years ago to a sellout audience at the Jackie Gleason Theater in gratitude for the life-saving procedure Dr. Katzen performed on her husband, René Angélil.