Writer Lara Piu

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s the 60th year of fundraising for the American Heart Association approaches, the well-anticipated, must-attend 2017 58th Annual Phoenix Heart Ball will take place November 18 at The Phoenician luxury resort in Paradise Valley.

“Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans. We can reduce heart disease by promoting a healthy diet and lifestyle,” advocates Heart Ball chairperson Char Hubble. “The American Heart Association has a new national goal: By 2020, we aim to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent.”

Last year, the sold out black-tie event was attended by more than 750 guests and raised more than $1.2 million dollars. Each year, volunteers make it all possible, 2016 event chair Jennifer Carmer says.

“Our hearts are the force, the beat and the rhythm that connect us all. When 100-plus dedicated women all work together, their heart beats are in rhythm for one greater good—to save lives,” Jennifer comments.

Since its inception, Phoenix Heart Ball volunteers have raised more than $30 million to fight heart disease and stroke, the nation’s number one and number five killers. Heart Ball event are held cities across the country and attended by tens of thousands of donors each year. Last year, $60 million was raised nationwide.

This year’s committee will dedicate funds to raising awareness and educating future generations in the life-saving technique of hands-only CPR by funding CPR training in schools.

The Phoenix Heart Ball was introduced to the Valley in 1959, at a time when pacemaker, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and bypass surgery research were just getting their legs. Since then, many of the lifesaving programs we utilize today have been developed with help from funds raised by the Heart Ball.

Today, the American Heart Association offers a comprehensive array of educational and preventative community programs. The organization educates children on nutrition and exercise and teaches adults about risk factors, cholesterol reduction and how to recognize the signs of heart attack and stroke.

Currently, 19 Arizona researchers receive funding from the American Heart Association, totaling over $2.6 million. Additionally, more than 45,000 individuals visit the Halle Heart Children’s Museum each year.