Golden Triangle Heart Ball 2014
“The Great Gatsby” is a story of both love and tragedy, perhaps a fitting theme to this year’s Heart Ball — an event that honors and remembers those who have experienced cardiovascular disease and stroke either personally or through a family member, friend or acquaintance.
While some have survived battles with the disease with the love and support of their families, others tragically have not. All, however, are celebrated at the Golden Triangle Heart Ball.
The American Heart Association’s continued tradition of themed galas has raised millions of dollars nationwide for education, advocacy and research efforts to understand and combat the nation’s No. 1 killer — heart disease.
The Golden Triangle Heart Ball is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 8, at the MCM Eleganté, 2355 1-10 S. in Beaumont, with tickets set at $150 each and table sponsorships ranging from patron ($1,500) to diamond ($6,500). Guests are asked to wear 1920s inspired dress (flapper dresses, three-piece suits, etc.), if possible. The cause (year-round) sponsor for the Golden Triangle Heart Ball is Christus Hospital. Co-chairs of this event are Becky Quinn and Karen Wortham.
The event kicks off with cocktails at 6 p.m. and a five star dinner at 7:30 p.m. A silent auction will be ongoing throughout the night, and a live auction will feature many interesting and valuable items including a Huntsman Springs Vacation donated by Bob and Karen Wortham. The vacation includes seven days and six nights in the Teton Valley of Driggs, Idaho, and four rounds of golf in one of the nation’s top golf courses. Accommodations include a home with four bedrooms and three bathrooms.
“The unmatched recreational opportunities, located in unparalleled natural splendor and beauty, provide a backdrop for a family experience unlike anything else you may have known,” the Huntsman Springs website states.
Other items up for auction include an autographed Mickey Mantle baseball and a Sabine Lake fishing trip for three captained by Mark Harmon on a 24-foot Pathfinder boat.
Guests will also have an opportunity to dance the night away to a variety of music including jazz performed by the Mid-Life Crisis Band.
“We’re going to have a lot of fun,” said Charla Davidson, corporate market director of the Golden Triangle AHA.
Each year, the AHA honors recipients of the J.C. Crager award, named for the cardiologist and AHA volunteer and president, and presented to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the betterment of the Golden Triangle through their professional and community service.
“Dr. Crager was a wonderful cardiologist in Beaumont,” Davidson said. “He was one of those doctors you could call and he would come to your house to make sure you were going to be OK. He started the local AHA, and he also was the national president of the board of directors of the national AHA.”
This year’s honorees are Dr. Wayne Margolis, a Beaumont cardiologist, and Bishop Curtis Guillory.
“Bishop Curtis Guillory is highly deserving of the award,” said Ivy Pate, regional vice-president of Christus Health Foundation of Southeast Texas. “Since becoming the bishop of the Catholic Diocese in 2000, Bishop Guillory has worked tirelessly as a spiritual leader for the entire community. Bishop Guillory oversees all aspects of ministry in the Catholic Diocese, including extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ, the mission of Christus hospitals in the region.”
Pate added that Margolis was a “highly respected cardiologist in our region and has devoted a lifetime to this work.”
“To be considered in the same category of physicians who have been honored and have received this award is just a tremendous honor,” Margolis said.
Margolis knows firsthand the damage that cardiovascular disease can cause to families, he said.
“It can be devastating to a family,” Margolis said. “For example, when someone previously thought to be healthy has sudden cardiac death. It also causes a tremendous amount of suffering, particularly to people with end-stage congestive heart failure who have a very poor quality of life.”
Events like the Heart Ball give the community an opportunity to make a difference, Margolis said.
“They can make a difference by donating and supporting these types of fundraisers and knowing that their money will go towards research that will not only save lives, but improve quality of living.”
In 2012, the Heart Ball raised almost $60 million nationwide and about $75,000 locally, Davidson said.
“I don’t think there’s anybody that hasn’t in some way or another been affected by heart disease,” Davidson said, adding that the Heart Ball is one of the AHA’s biggest annual fundraisers. “We work really hard through the advocacy program and have done some wonderful things for the community with these funds.”
One of this year’s Heart Ball guest speakers will be Jennifer Balsamo, whose son, Aiden, had heart surgery while still in the womb.
“After what seemed like a never-ending ultrasound, Dr. Nancy Ayres told us that our son’s case was severe enough to consider a fetal heart procedure that had never been performed at Texas Children’s Hospital before,” Balsamo writes on Texas Children’s blog. “We knew that without this procedure, there was a good chance that our baby may not survive, so we decided to give our son the best chance at life and proceed with the in-utero procedure.”
Another tentative guest speaker is KayLynn Gibson, mother of talented Nederland teen Jonas Gibson. Born with four heart defects and without a pulmonary artery, Jonas did not let heart problems deter him from learning music, playing both the violin and piano from the age of 3. Jonas died of complications from the flu Jan. 16.
Today, the American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary health organization devoted to fighting heart disease and stroke, the AHA website states, with more than 22.5 million volunteers and supporters backed by nearly 150 local offices.
The nonprofit association is a leader in public health education and sciences, training more than 13 million people a year in CPR, publishing popular cookbooks and certifying heart-healthy foods in grocery stores. AHA programs improve the health of Americans, fight childhood obesity and reach audiences facing unique health risks, including women, African-Americans and Hispanics.
The association continues to stay true to its scientific roots, funding more cardiovascular research than any U.S. organization aside from the government. AHA has funded 13 Nobel Prize winners and numerous scientific breakthroughs and has set scientific treatment guidelines that are followed by hospitals nationwide.
Those who are planning to attend the ball are asked to RSVP to Charla Davidson by e-mailing charla. davidson [at] heart [dot] org or by calling (409) 550-1753. For more information, visit goldentriangleheartball. ahaevents.org.
“It’s going to be a glamorous night,” Davidson said. “Everybody come out and have a wonderful time and raise money to help lower heart disease and stroke.”6