The American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, welcomed close to 120 supporters back to the York Heart Ball on Saturday, April 9 at the Country Club of York. It was the first time the event was held in-person since April 2019. The campaign, led by chair Josh Smeltzer, senior vice president at RBC Wealth Management – The Sides Group, raised $152,000 for the American Heart Association.
“After holding this event virtually for the past two years, it was great to be back in person and celebrate everything the American Heart Association has been able to do thanks to our supporters in the community,” said Smeltzer. “With the help of sponsors like WellSpan Health, we’ve held virtual community conversations about the youth vaping epidemic and provided patients with the information and tools they need to control their blood pressure. Through the support of the Powder Mill Foundation, we place CPR training kits in local schools. Experts from UPMC, Visiting Angels and Traditions Bank all contributed to virtual lunch-and-learns about important health topics. So many dedicated volunteers and supporters have helped make this happen and continue to advance the work of the American Heart Association.”
Amy Lutz of Fox43 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. Chris Lipp, vice president of the heart and vascular service line at WellSpan Health, helped kick the evening off with a toast.
“Everyone either knows someone who has had heart disease or stroke or has personally been treated for one of these conditions,” said Lipp. “For almost 100 years, the American Heart Association has been fighting heart disease and stroke, educating families and communities on heart healthy lifestyles, and improving patient care and outcomes. Together, we can see a world free of cardiovascular diseases.”
In addition to a silent and live auction, guests supported the cause through the Open Your Heart appeal featuring the story of 2-year-old congenital heart defect survivor Jace Taughinbaugh. Jace was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect, called double outlet of the right ventricle with a subaortic ventricular septal defect before he was born in November 2019. At birth, he was found to have several other defects including fused ribs, abnormal shaped vertebra in the spine and a duplicated collecting system in his left kidney that resulted in a rare diagnosis of Goldenhar Syndrome. He underwent two open heart surgeries and received a permanent pacemaker in 2020. In September 2021 he led the York Heart Walk and Adams County Heart Walk.
“A lot of people know that heart disease is the number one killer in adults, but they don’t realize that congenital heart defects are the number one killer in infants and children, “ said Jace’s mom, Liz Taughinbaugh. “If we can raise more awareness, we can continue getting more funding for the research and innovation that allows kids like Jace a second chance at life.”
The dollars raised by the York 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 York Heart Ball was sponsored by WellSpan Health, UPMC and UPMC Health Plan, M&T Bank, Encompass Health, Medtronic and other generous contributors.
For more information about supporting the 2023 York Heart Ball campaign, which will be co-chaired by Chris Lipp, vice president of the heart and vascular service line at WellSpan Health, and Dr. James Harvey, cardiologist at WellSpan Health, contact Gail Frassetta at [email protected] or 717-730-1771.