The American Heart Association will recognize Shrewsbury resident and longtime volunteer, Dawn King, with a Heart Hero Award at the annual Central MA Heart Walk on May 2nd. King is being honored for her exceptional leadership and support of the organization’s mission to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
In 1997, one of King’s twin boys, Ben, was born with Hypoplastic left heart syndrome. For the first three years of his life, Ben had to be tube-fed and his condition required multiple operations, including having a pacemaker implanted when he was just two years old. Two years after Ben and his twin brother, Erik, were born, King decided to start a non-profit support organization, Friends With Heart, to help families in the Central MA area affected by congenital heart disease (CHD) by offering resource information, family support groups and activities.
Friends With Heart, recently initiated a new program, Teen Meet, to help support the changing needs of the young members growing into adolescents. Teen Meet is a place where the teens can talk, share, listen and enjoy time together as they build camaraderie and help each other as they transition into adulthood.
“The American Heart Association is thrilled to be able to recognize Dawn at this year’s Heart Walk for her outstanding volunteerism and leadership,” said Blair Young, Senior Director of the American Heart Association. “There will be dozens of families at the Walk who have benefited from Dawn’s work and I think this will be a great day for Dawn and all those families as well.”
King has been an American Heart Association volunteer for 15 years and through her work with Friends With Heart, has advocated for Ben and continued to empower other parents to do the same, allowing them to teach their children to become strong advocates for themselves.
Our mission is to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. For nearly 100 years, we’ve been fighting heart disease and stroke, striving to save and improve lives. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer worldwide, and stroke ranks second globally. Even when those conditions don’t result in death, they cause disability and diminish quality of life. We want to see a world free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.