For the first time since February 2020, we greeted approximately 300 friends and supporters of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Greater Washington Region for an evening of dining, dancing and fellowship at the Heart Ball. As guests descended the escalators of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington DC, they were transported back to the ballroom to celebrate the rhythm of our lives and the power we all have to be lifesavers by raising awareness of CPR.
Guests reconnected at a pre-event cocktail reception before transitioning to the red and gold themed grand ballroom for dinner. Throughout the evening, event leaders including Executive Director Soula Antoniou, Board President Dr. Federico Asch, 2022 Heart of Greater Washington Chair Vishal Tulsian of SAIC, and Board Chair Owen Billman shared remarks highlighting the history and importance of CPR.
Guests rallied around the theme of CPR education and awareness during the Open Your Heart appeal honoring AHA board member Bryan Buckley and Christopher Holton, Sr. In August of 2021, their lives changed forever when Bryan and a friend were cycling on a trail in Maryland and saw Chris collapse. Taking swift action, they immediately called 911 and administered Hands-Only CPR for 20 minutes before emergency medical services arrived. Because of CPR, Chris survived his cardiac arrest and was able to see his son off to college, cheer on his daughter during her softball games, and join us at the Heart Ball this year. Watch their full story on our YouTube channel.
“Bryan and Chris’ story drives home the impact of bystander CPR, the importance of being in the right place at the right time and seizing the moment to save a life,” 2022 Heart Ball Chair Vishal Tulsian said. “As the Heart of Greater Washington campaign chair, I am passionate about educating the next generation of lifesavers and empowering our community to learn Hands-Only CPR.”
During the Open Your Heart segment, a $25,000 matching gift from the Kurt Rieschick Memorial Fund honored the memory of Kurt Rieschick, Jr. who passed away in January 2021 from sudden cardiac arrest at the age of 50, and a second $25,000 matching gift from Rob and Patti Franklin inspired guests to seize their moment and raise their paddles one last time in tribute to Bryan and Chris, past Faces of Heart, and all brave survivors and lifesavers.
“The Heart Ball is all about celebrating survivors, reconnecting with our rhythm, and recognizing the opportunity each of us has to save lives through the advancement of research, community programming and CPR education,” Soula Antoniou, Executive Director of the AHA, Greater Washington Region said. “Thank you to our 2022 Chair Vishal Tulsian, Faces of Heart Bryan and Chris, and all of the passionate supporters and sponsors who made this evening possible.”
Funds raised at the Heart Ball advance the mission-critical work of the AHA. Thank you for our 2022 sponsors including the Bender Foundation, Kurt Rieschick Memorial Fund, SAIC, Veritas Capital, Vidoori, American College of Cardiology, Anybill, Cindy & Mac Curtis, Deloitte, Devlon Paris International, EagleBank, The GW Hospital & GW Medical Faculty Associates, Giant Food, Josh Jackson, Linda Gooden & Laird Lott, Karen & Dale White, KPMG, MedStar Health, Mercedes-Benz of Arlington, Patti & Rob Franklin, PhRMA, Shivoy, Inc., Sheehy Auto Stores, Synapse Business System, Inc., and WashingtonExec.
The American Heart Association is taking CPR education and awareness beyond the ballroom during national CPR & AED Awareness Week for the Heart of Greater Washington Serve Day sponsored by SAIC. On June 1, companies are invited to educate customers and employees on lifesaving Hands-Only CPR skills. For more information about supporting the 2023 Heart of Greater Washington campaign, please visit dcheartball.heart.org or contact Anita Walker at Anita.Walker@Heart.org.