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Generous gift boosts scholarships to RiverBend’s Supervised Exercise Program

June 14, 2022 | News

EUGENE, Ore. – PeaceHealth is excited to announce that The Coeta and Donald Barker Foundation has contributed $100,000 to start an endowment, which will enable more patients in financial need to benefit from scholarships to the Supervised Exercise Program at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend.

The Coeta and Donald Barker Foundation will give an additional $50,000 in matching funds if the PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center Foundation successfully raises another $50,000 from the community.

The endowment will double the number of scholarships each year, enabling 24 patients –up from 12 -- to continue to participate in the life-changing exercise program after their insurance benefits are exhausted.

In the Supervised Exercise Program, pulmonary, cardiac and vascular patients work with PeaceHealth specialists to develop customized exercise routines. They complete their workouts in the Oregon Heart & Vascular Institute (OHVI) gym at RiverBend, where trained medical professionals are available to assist, if needed.

“That gives patients the peace of mind that they can continue to get the regular exercise they need to improve their health and fitness,” says Aaron Harding, supervisor of cardiac rehabilitation at OHVI.

To date more than 100 patients have received scholarships, and this generous gift from The Coeta and Donald Barker Foundation continues a long legacy of giving.

In 2008, a Eugene businessman funded the first scholarship for the exercise program as a heartfelt act of caring.

After experiencing a heart event, the late Bob Cochran participated in the exercise program and noticed that one of the program’s regulars was no longer attending. He heard that she had stopped coming because her insurance coverage had run out and she couldn’t afford to pay for the sessions.

That inspired him to quietly donate funds to help other patients facing the same situation continue their rehabilitation.

Over the years more scholarships were granted, funded by individual contributions -- many from PeaceHealth employees who see firsthand the difference the program makes in patients’ lives.

“We’re incredibly grateful to Bob Cochran, our compassionate caregivers, and so many others who have kept this program going,” Harding says. “The Coeta and Donald Barker Foundation gift will help make the scholarship fund more sustainable and increase health equity by making the exercise program more accessible to patients who need it.”

Those who are interested in helping Sacred Heart Medical Center Foundation raise the $50,000 that will unlock the additional $50,000 matching gift, may contribute online to the Supervised Exercise Program Scholarship Endowment.

About PeaceHealth: PeaceHealth, based in Vancouver, Wash., is a not-for-profit Catholic health system offering care to communities in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. PeaceHealth has approximately 16,000 caregivers, a group practice with more than 900 providers and 10 medical centers serving both urban and rural communities throughout the Northwest. In 1890, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace founded what has become PeaceHealth. The Sisters shared expertise and transferred wisdom from one medical center to another, always finding the best way to serve the unmet need for healthcare in their communities. Today, PeaceHealth is the legacy of the founding Sisters and continues with a spirit of respect, stewardship, collaboration and social justice in fulfilling its Mission. Visit us online at

About The Coeta and Donald Barker Foundation: The Coeta and Donald Barker Foundation is a charitable trust founded in Eugene, Ore., in 1977. It is now based in Rancho Mirage, Calif.