Houston Snapshots

Landmark Anniversaries Celebrated for 40th Annual Heart Ball and a Century of American Heart Association

Event Date:  February 10, 2024
Location:  Hilton Americas-Houston
Event:  Gala
Beneficiaries:  American Heart Association
Money raised:  $1,250,000
Chairperson:  Kelly Hackett
Keynote Speaker and Featured Survivor:  Wallis Marsh
Emcee:  Khambrel Marshall
Décor and Florals:  Let It Fly Events
Photography:  Daniel Ortiz and Wilson Parish

Landmark Anniversaries Celebrated for 40th Annual Heart Ball and a Century of American Heart Association

The treasury of the American Heart Association was increased by over $1.25 million as some landmark anniversaries were recognized, specifically, the 100th anniversary of the American Heart Association and the 40th anniversary of the Houston Heart Ball, themed “Pulse of the Century.” Over 500 guests filled the Hilton Americas-Houston ballroom to join chair Kelly Hackett in supporting the efforts of this century-old organization, which was founded in Chicago by six cardiologists and inspired by a social worker with a desire to help those who suffered from heart disease.

The cocktail hour was pulsing with voltage as electric violinist Demola entertained and moved through the crowd. The ballroom doors opened to reveal a space awash in a sea of color, decorated by Let It Fly Events. The room was backed by video screens showing pulsating fireworks and colorful graphics.

Demola continued his performance by opening the program with the ever-popular “I’ve Got a Feeling” as guests meandered to find their seats. Emcee Khambrel Marshall welcomed everyone to this milestone evening and introduced keynote speaker and featured survivor Wallis Marsh, who, through video, shared his story and poignantly remarked how his lovely wife DeeDee was instrumental in saving his life during his traumatic cardiac event. The sixteen honorees were unveiled via video and received a standing ovation as they gathered on stage. Allison Sheeder, Sr. Executive Director of AHA Greater Houston gratefully acknowledged sponsors and supporters and the exceptional care, warmth, and compassion they embody.

A bidding war between Kelly Hackett and Peter Fluor highlighted the fast-paced auction of a pair of ruby and diamond earrings. Each bidder continued to raise their paddle immediately after the other one raised theirs. Finally, Kelly’s last paddle raise closed out the bid, and she was declared the earrings’ rightful owner. She immediately went to Peter and gifted him the earrings! A champagne toast by 2022 Heart Ball Chairs Tim Singletary and Joanne Houck closed out the program, which was followed by a festive balloon drop and a packed dance floor! What an evening—to successfully honor two milestones!

In the Social Scene (not previously mentioned):  Beverly and Jim Postl, Kim Koehn, Bruce and Laura Miller, Roz and Alan Pactor, DJ Warner, Judy and Russ Labrasca, Kelly and Damien LaPar, Kelly and John Weinzierl, Elizabeth and Alan Stein, Suzie Kupiec and James Dyer, Lesha and Tom Elsenbrook, Cindy Cook, Krista and Ronnie Smith, Ann Fluor, Lacey and Matt Goossen, Jennifer and David Balevic, Theresa and Jose Ivo, Jody Merritt and Steve Spencer, Christine Johnson, Lu and Tom Caltagirone, Ilene and Doug Allen, Minda and Bill Caesar, Beth Wolff, Liz Jameson and Leila Gilbert

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