If you’re looking for a fun, elegant way to spend a Saturday night that also happens to benefit a worthy cause, might I suggest the American Heart Association’s (AHA) annual Heart Ball on Saturday, March 5? I’m honored and thrilled to have the opportunity to chair this special event, and I hope that you’ll join me in celebrating the accomplishments of an organization that’s near and dear to my heart. Even if you can’t attend the ball as a guest, several opportunities for showing your support are available, including volunteering, making a donation, and becoming a sponsor.
Held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Troy from 6 p.m. to midnight, the Heart Ball is a chance for local business owners and those in the medical field to gather and help fund the AHA’s research and programs. Currently, the Capital Region receives about $2 million in research funding. The event also celebrates the AHA’s work and mission, its donors and volunteers, and the many lives saved and improved thanks to its supporters’ unwavering commitment. Last year, the Heart Ball campaign raised a little more than $51 million nationwide, which enabled the AHA to contribute more than $123 million toward research and programs across the country and in our community.
Some Humbling, but Avoidable, Statistics It’s no secret that the risks heart disease and stroke pose are significant. In fact, they kill more than 786,000 Americans each year and are the No. 1 and No. 2 causes of death in the world. What’s equally worrisome is some form of cardiovascular disease affects more than one in every three adult Americans and can cause severe disabilities. As a former practicing cardiologist, all too often I would see the toll heart disease took on my patients and their families. It’s a terrible affliction and one that, to this day, I feel passionate about and for which I’m striving to raise awareness and support.
Some encouraging news is heart disease and stroke are, for the most part, preventable. The AHA prescribes Life’s Simple 7 for lowering your risks, and frankly, I couldn’t agree more with their recommendations. They include:
- Not smoking
- Staying physically active
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Eating a healthy diet
- Controlling your blood pressure
- Controlling your cholesterol
- Controlling your blood sugar
Now, Let’s Celebrate Without the AHA, the advances we’ve made in treating and preventing heart disease and stroke would be severely limited or non-existent. They’ve had a huge impact on many people’s lives and I’m privileged to be a part of their cause. I look forward to seeing you at the Heart Ball and sharing in the AHA’s many achievements.