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Heart Ball raises funds for Heart Association

5/1/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Collins

Photo courtesy of the American Heart Association
DOWNTOWN AKRON — The American Heart Association’s annual Heart Ball, which was held at the Quaker Station Feb. 8, featured the Open Your Heart special appeal promoting attendees to give in support of pediatric cardiac research in addition to honoring local medical leaders for their contribution to the health of the community.

According to event officials, Sterling Jewelers Inc. has supported the efforts of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association for more than 25 years, and this year acted as legacy sponsor for the Akron Heart Ball, which raised a total of $250,000 for heart and stroke research and education.

Keeping the focus of the evening on how funded research has positively impacted lives of area individuals, 28-year-old Valerie Mould, a survivor of heart disease, shared her story with attendees, according to event officials. Mould was born with a condition known as the transposition of the great vessels, in which oxygenated blood did not circulate properly throughout her body, and also a dangerous heart rhythm known as tachycardia. Her tachycardia was corrected with an internal pacemaker/defibrillator, according to event officials. Mould, who is living a full life with her husband and young son, is among many congenital heart defect survivors alive and healthy today due to advancements brought about by research, according to event officials.

Shown above, from left, at the event are George Murray, senior vice president of marketing at Sterling Jewelers Inc., and Mould, along with her husband, Christopher, and son, Declan.

“Adults with congenital heart disease are the fastest growing population of patients with congenital heart disease,” said Dr. John Clark, director of the pediatric arrhythmia center at Akron Children’s Hospital and American Heart Association board member. “In fact, for the first time ever, adults with congenital heart disease now outnumber pediatric patients with congenital heart disease. This is due to improvements in technology, surgery and care that are now allowing most children with congenital heart disease to live into adulthood.”

According to event officials, about 1 percent of all live births, or nearly 40,000, in the country are impacted by congenital heart defects. Because of this, the American Heart Association is committed to continuing research that may one day help medical providers treat and/or prevent pediatric and adult heart disease.

— By Kathleen Collins

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