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Mid-South Heart Ball

Rockin’ the Blues

Story by Emily Adams Keplinger  | Photos by Don Perry

A crowd of more than 600 people gathered at The Peabody for the 2018 Mid-South Heart Ball, an annual fundraiser for the American Heart Association (AHA). This year’s Heart Ball chairmen were John and Leslie Daniel. They were joined by Brad and Dina Martin, who served as honorary chairs. The Executive Leadership Team was comprised of Darrell Doane, Rob Heard, Christopher Jenkins, Kim Jordan, John Lewis, John Maki, Paulo Teixeria and Patricia Emory-Walker. First Tennessee Foundation was the event’s signature sponsor.

The event began with cocktails and a silent auction in the Continental Ballroom. Guests moved to the Grand Ballroom for dinner where all-blue floral centerpieces, designed by Greg Campbell of Garden District, provided a visual delight. Guests dined on a three-course meal catered by The Peabody.

Dr. Dharmesh Patel, a cardiologist at Stern Cardiovascular Foundation and President of the American Heart Association Board of Directors, welcomed attendees and spoke about the history that AHA has of partnering with local nonprofit organizations.

Gerold Blum was this year’s “Open Your Heart” honoree. Through a video presentation, his parents, Jerry and Barbara and sisters Emily and Nicole shared the story of the sudden loss of Gerold at the age of 18 to heart disease. They spoke about the need to fund the research of the American Heart Association and asked for others to support the organization’s mission.

“AHA has given our family an avenue where we feel like we are able to find something positive out of our personal tragedy,” explained Jerry. “We think the American Heart Association is a great organization, one that is producing miracles and saving lives everyday through the research that they fund.”

Barbara added, “My son, Gerold was bigger than life — he always had a smile on his face and never failed to make others laugh. Our involvement with AHA is a way for us to extend his legacy.”

Auctioneer Jeff Morris led the group through a live auction of items. Afterwards, Morris solicited additional donations ranging from $500 to $10,000 as he asked patrons to open their hearts and their wallets in support of the AHA.

The American Heart Association has set a goal that by 2020, they will improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular disease and stroke by 20 percent. All proceeds from this year’s Heart Ball will be used to spread awareness throughout the Mid-South about cardiovascular disease and try to help people lead healthier lives.

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