The American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, welcomed close to 200 supporters back to the Capital Region Heart Ball on Saturday, April 2 at the Hershey Lodge. It was the first time the event was held in-person since February 2020. The campaign, led by chair Susan Hubley, vice president of corporate social responsibility at Capital Blue Cross, raised $260,000 for the American Heart Association.
“We all know someone who has been touched by heart disease – it has impacted my family – so I’m proud to support the American Heart Association’s important work to ensure that every member of our community has the opportunity to lead a long, healthy life,” said Hubley.
Tom Russell of CBS21 News hosted the evening’s dinner program that recognized event sponsors and volunteers for their contributions to the American Heart Association and its work in the community.
“Over the past year, the American Heart Association distributed 17 CPR in Schools training kits to local schools, provided Infant CPR Anytime training kits to local health clinics, ensured Harrisburg students have access to clean drinking water at school and is helping local clinics implement blood pressure management programs,” said Natalie Wech, senior vice president at M&T Bank and co-chair of the American Heart Association’s South Central PA Board of Directors. “I have spent close to a decade volunteering with the American Heart Association and I have seen first-hand how closely the work we do affects all of us.”
In addition to a silent and live auction, guests supported the cause through the Open Your Heart appeal led by 39-year-old heart transplant recipient Brandon Flood of Lower Paxton. In November 2021, Brandon was unexpectedly diagnosed with heart failure after seeking care for symptoms he initially thought were signs of COVID-19. Doctors informed him that his heart was functioning at 15 percent capacity and he received a heart transplant in December.
“I’m sure there are a ton of people out there who were just like me who feel like they don’t need to take medication and want to let symptoms subside on their own,“ said Flood. “I thought about admitting myself to the emergency room a week prior, but I didn’t do so because I felt like I would be able to walk it off. Listen to your body because in some cases you may not have that additional week.”
The dollars raised by the Capital Region Heart Ball fund the mission of the American Heart Association to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives while working toward the Association’s 2024 Health Equity Impact Goal, reducing barriers to health care access and quality.
This year’s Capital Region Heart Ball is sponsored by UPMC and UPMC Health Plan, Capital Blue Cross, Weis Markets, M&T Bank, Quandel Construction, Polaris Advisors, Sun Motor Cars and other generous contributors.
For more information about supporting the 2023 Capital Region Heart Ball campaign, which will be chaired by James Hoehn, regional president of the Central Pennsylvania region for PNC Bank, contact Kristie Davis at [email protected] or 717-730-1743.