2024 Hampton Roads Heart Ball unites community to raise funds and awareness related to CPR education, tobacco and vaping

American Heart Association annual event raises funds and awareness locally

Virginia Beach, VA, May 21, 2024 — The 2024 Hampton Roads Heart Ball brought hearts together to save lives and strive for equitable health for everyone living in Hampton Roads.  With more than $355,000 raised overall and almost $125,000 raised in the room during the event, making this year the “best year ever” as it relates to in-room giving, funds will support the life-saving work of the American Heart Association to fight heart disease and stroke including the improvement of CPR education and elimination of tobacco and vaping usage throughout Hampton Roads.

Attendees learned that more than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur each year in the United States and during cardiac arrest, immediate CPR can DOUBLE OR TRIPLE a person’s chance of survival. But currently, bystanders only perform CPR 46% of the time due to multiple reasons including but not limited to being afraid of legal ramifications, being afraid they may hurt the person, not feeling confident or not being trained. They also learned that 1 in 4 high school students used an e-cigarette also known as a vape pen within the last month but increased funding could train 100 community advocates in a virtual setting so they are better equipped to push for policies that will reduce the impact of tobacco, vaping and e-cigarettes in their neighborhood and beyond.

The event was a culmination of the Heart of Hampton Roads, an American Heart Association initiative that works to equitably improve and save lives from heart disease and stroke. The Heart Ball marks a special moment in time to reflect, honor and celebrate the progress made through the determination, dedication and passion of all who support the Heart of Hampton Roads.

Sentara Health served as the Platform Sponsor for this year’s event and co-chairs, Cathie Vick, Development and Public Affairs Officer, The Port of Virginia and Ashford Denman, System Vice President, Cardiovascular Service Lines, Sentara Health kicked the night off with a fun but impactful message followed by a lip sync production featuring their team of executive leaders. The 2024 R. Bryan Grinnan M.D. Memorial Research award sponsored by HII and Newport News Shipbuilding was presented to Dr. Keith Newby, Market Director, Community Health Improvement and Engagement, and Cardiologist, Bon Secours Hampton Roads, making him the first two-time winner in Grinnan Award history. Later during the program, guests honored 7-year-old Cayden Shipley, a hypoplastic left heart syndrome survivor and American Heart Association National Youth Heart Ambassador. They were joined by hosts of the evening, Marielena Balouris and Tom Schaad from WAVY-TV 10 and over 400 local guests who enjoyed musical entertainment by the dynamic BJ Griffin and The Galaxy Groove.

“This year’s Heart Ball which serves as one of our top fundraisers in the form of a gala was a must-attend event made possible through the collaboration of phenomenal sponsors and vendors that made this stunning event come together,” said MeShall Simmons, Executive Director of the American Heart Association Hampton Roads. “The Bold Hearts Birthday theme was the perfect way to kick off the night of fun, entertainment, live music and fundraising for a cause that is near and dear to our hearts.”

Funds raised through Heart of Hampton Roads and Heart Ball support the Association’s 2024 Health Equity Impact Goal, which aims to reduce barriers to health care access and quality. The American Heart Association is the world’s leading nonprofit organization focuses on heart and brain health. For more information on how to support the American Heart Association visit www.heart.org/virginia or www.heart.org.

Heart Ball photos can be found here. Photo credit to the Everlasting Pictures and the American Heart Association Hampton Roads.


 About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, X or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.


For Media Inquiries: 

Jaylyn Brown: 757.628.2605; jaylyn.brown@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and stroke.org