The generous and enthusiastic crowd at this year's American Heart Association "Heart Ball" gave $1,350,000 in gifts overall, with the best live and silent auction in its history ($188,000 raised). When the auctioneer opened the bidding for “Open Your Heart” gifts - straight donations that go directly to the mission - another $100,000 was raised at the National Building Museum, where the annual event was held on Saturday night.
The audience was clearly moved by the story of young Cooper Wixted (held by his father in the photo above), the American Heart Association's 2013 "Face of the Heart," who survived Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome after life-saving heart surgery.
"There was a lot of energy, and the young professionals that joined the party at 10:00 pm really had a good time," said Kara Laing, Director of Development of the American Heart Association. "We were there dancing until 1:00 am!"
Chef Bryan Voltaggio's Range Restaurant, one of the most highly anticipated restaurant openings in Washington for years, has exceeded expections for food, service and atmosphere. The place is spectacular: 14,000 square feet, glass walls, marble counters, gorgeous LCD lighting, open seating with intimate spots thrown in.
At Range, in the newly renovated Chevy Chase Pavillion, plenty of hipsters, celebrities, journalists, and foodies scattered about create a happenin' New York City-feel.
"Service is key to setting a tone of seriousness about the food (fine dining), while maintaining an approachable (casual) feel to the experience,"according to the Zagat Guide's Olga Boikess, while observing a server training session at Range.
I look forward to the Heart Ball each year; and this Saturday night's is no exception. A premier society event, expect an elegant black-tie at one of the most beautiful spaces in town: The National Building Museum. Attended by national and local celebrities each year, it's not only fun - with dinner, dancing, games, a live band, and exceptional live and silent auctions - but also serious: Last year's Heart Ball campaign raised over $51 million nation-wide and allowed the American Heart Association - its sponsor - to fund over $123 million in research and programs across the country and in our community.
I've always admired the work of the American Heart Association, and have been involved with the AHA since I started in my field: let's just say, a couple of (ahem) decades ago (or more)...
Its mission is to "build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. That single purpose drives all we do. The need for our work is beyond question."
I can attest to that! Heart disease is the nation's number one killer and the Heart Ball goes a long way to make a difference. So, I look forward to seeing you there!
To register: DCHeartBall.com