Amarillo Heart Ball celebrating cardio care accomplishments

Amarillo Heart Ball celebrating cardio care accomplishments
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - The Amarillo Heart Ball is raising money to support local research and national programs with the Amarillo Heart Association.

Organizers hope the event will save lives as well as improve the lives of those living with heart disease such as Daniel Gregg, who has suffered two cardiac events.

"That's what helped me be educated to know that I was having a heart attack," he said. "And so if we do it now who knows how far we can reach in the future."

He believes the accomplishments of years ago have brought the association to where they are now.

"The money invested now into associations like the American Heart Association and the Amarillo Heart Ball really is laying the groundwork for future generations," said Gregg.

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Director of the American Heart Association's Amarillo division, Judy Cato, said the Amarillo Heart Ball is celebrating just how far cardiovascular research has come.

"People are now surviving 10, 20, 30 years beyond their first cardiac episode where you know a few years ago, 10 short years ago people didn't survive major heart attacks," she said. "And now we can treat those heart attacks and, you know, stint people or even do heart transplants. We have devices that can keep the heart going in cardiac failure and so we're just improving the lives of Americans with heart disease every year."

The chair of the ball, John Luciano, said the event is also meant to spread awareness about heart diseases for those who need it.

"The gain is to cure it, of course, but the other thing is to get out and just give people knowledge about what to do," he said. "How to help somebody, you know, if they do go down if they are having a heart attack. How to find a defibrillator or to look for the things that you need or call for help. You can save a lot of lives."

If you missed tonight's Heart Ball, you can still donate to the American Heart Association.

One couple's daughter, Kori Wilhelm, is a survivor of a rare type of heart defect she had as a baby, called Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return, or TAPVR.

Her father, Eric Wilhelm, said they came out to show support for her and the American Heart Association.

"It was really a 50/50 chance that she would survive this. This very rare heart defect," he said. "And she's 22-years-old today and everything has been great since that. We have really been blessed."

Wilhelm believes the American Heart Association's cause is one worth supporting.

"The community really need to get behind this. Because you never know when it's gonna be you," he said. "You know, I never thought it would happen to our family and it did. You never know when it's gonna be you and it is a very well-worthy cause."

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