by Robin King
Cardiovascular diseases and strokes are the number 1 and number 5 causes of death in the U.S. The American Heart Association is desperately trying to reduce those grim statistics by utilizing much-needed funds to increase awareness of heart health and expand education and research into these life-threatening diseases.
So let’s tip our hats (and pat our hearts) to the many hundreds who gathered Friday June 10th for the 35th Annual Orange County Heart Ball benefitting the American Heart Association. This 4-course, black-tie dinner and auction at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Nigel in Dana Point raised close to $600,000!
This was my second year on the OC Heart Ball Committee and I’m continually amazed at the hundreds of helping hands that unite to help raise much needed funds for this worthy cause. Altruism at its finest!
Renee Dee and Alfredo J. Molina, of Black Starr and Frost, served as the chairpersons of the Heart Ball for the second consecutive year. And what an epic event it was!
The Pacific Ocean provided a breathtaking backdrop to kick-off the evening’s festivities. From the moment we entered the ballroom the smell of gorgeous red roses permeated the air, along with generous portions of food, and copious amounts of champagne. Generosity of spirit was in full supply. Following the auction, we cut it up on the dance floor. We were told that dancing promotes a healthy heart!
But there is no denying that the highlight of this year’s 2016 Heart Ball was the quintessential Max Page– charming, adorable, grateful and passionate about the American Heart Association. Max is not your average 11-year old boy. Max was born with a congenital heart defect. He requires a pacemaker but rarely let’s that slow him down. Max, who’s had 11 surgeries to date, is best known for his role as the “Little Darth Vader” from the Volkswagen 2011 commercial, The Force.
The poised, and articulate young Max was a shining example to us all of living life with gratitude. Max reminded us that heart defects do not just impact the aging population but young children as well. Max had us laughing and crying and opening up our hearts (and our wallets) to help fund lifesaving research that has impacted his family and so many others. Way to go Max!
Another highlight of the evening: We named our very first “Sweetheart of the Ball”-Peggy Goldwater-Clay. You may recognize her name. She is the daughter of Senator Barry Goldwater and Peggy Goldwater. Peggy Goldwater Clay was acknowledged for her “beautiful spirit of innovation, service and philanthropy”. Peggy carries on the legacy or her mother’s service to the American Heart Association. Her mother chaired the very first Heart Ball in 1959.
As the orchestra exited the stage, the leadership committee and special guests were invited to join Black Starr and Frost’s Alfredo J. Molina and Renee Dee for their annual “After Glow Party”. Checking our high heels at the door in exchange for fluffy white slippers, we continued to enjoy the evening’s festivities with a well-stocked dessert bar and photo booth all under a red lit private room. We kicked up our feet and toasted to another successful OC Heart Ball!
It was the perfect ending to an evening dear to my heart.