American Heart Association: Thirty Years of Heartfelt Support

American Heart Association: Thirty Years of Heartfelt Support


Heart Ball Executive Leadership Team: 1st row: Emily Nickolas, Sarah Anne Campbell, Rasheda Malcolm-Cromwell, Mike Mestemaker, Beverly A. Grant, Jennifer Cloyd-Caldwell, James Carty

A young family in Northern Kentucky is eternally grateful for trailblazing advancements in technology, treatment and care for patients with life-threatening heart issues. A heart transplant saved the life of their daughter, Hadlee, when she was just three years old. 

Thirty years ago, Hadlee would not have had the same successful outcome. Thanks to cutting-edge research funded by the American Heart Association, Hadlee was able to receive the gift of life. 

On Saturday, February 4, 2023, Hadlee and many others like her will be celebrated at the Greater Cincinnati Heart Ball, presented by St. Elizabeth Healthcare. For nearly 30 years, the Heart Ball has been one of the largest fundraising events in the region. Yet, this event isn’t just one night of giving. It’s a culmination of the American Heart Association’s work in Greater Cincinnati all year long. 

“Funding research is a cornerstone of the American Heart Association’s lifesaving mission, and it’s the pillar upon which the Association was founded. It’s key to our future,” said Greater Cincinnati American Heart Association Executive Director and Vice President Alyson Poling. “The American Heart Association is the largest nonprofit funding source for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease research next to the federal government. Since 1949, we have invested more than $5 billion in research, which has led to the first artificial valve, the first pacemaker, drug-coated stents, CPR techniques and guidelines, and so much more.” 


Heart of the City Honorees, Jack and Kay Geiger; Heart Ball Chair, Beverly A. Grant; Carolyn Wright and Healthcare Leadership Impact Honoree, Dr. Creighton Wright.

The dollars raised here at home remain in our region, giving local residents a better quality of life and improved health outcomes. According to Poling, the Greater Cincinnati American Heart Association is currently funding an excess of $12.5 million in active research studies at the University of Cincinnati,

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and Miami University. 

The funds raised also allow the American Heart Association to address our city’s most critical health issues, including women’s health, nutrition security, blood pressure management, and tobacco and vaping. This lifesaving work is completed through a lens of health equity for all residents, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, gender or ability. 

That focus on health equity is one of the reasons longtime American Heart Association volunteer, Beverly A. Grant, stepped up to chair the 2023 Heart Ball. 

In her role, Grant is leading a team of like-minded executives who share a passion for ensuring healthier lives for all Greater Cincinnatians.

“The work that the American Heart Association is doing to identify and remove barriers to health care access and quality is extremely important to me,” said Grant. “Having grown up without health care, I know firsthand how critical it is to be a champion for health equity for all.”

In addition to celebrating 30 years of research success and 30 years of changing lives, the Heart Ball will honor several community members who have committed to heart and brain health in our region. Kay and Jack Geiger will be recognized with the Heart of the City Award during the evening’s festivities. The Heart of the City Award was created in 2008 to pay special tribute to non-medical professionals who have made outstanding contributions to the community. 

Creighton B. Wright, M.D., will be honored with the Healthcare Leadership Impact Award. This inaugural award will be named for Dr. Wright and given each year to those in the medical and health care fields who have worked alongside the American Heart Association to improve heart and brain health.

“We are thrilled to honor these incredible individuals at the Heart Ball,” Poling says. “With their support and others like them, we can continue to save lives like Hadlee’s and millions of others.”

Would you like to help celebrate 30 years of the Greater Cincinnati American Heart Association? Visit or email Tricia Sunders, Associate Vice President of Development, at to learn more.

Leaders of Impact

Six local changemakers participated in the Leaders of Impact initiative, a seven-week challenge to improve health by raising awareness and funds to support the life-saving work of the American Heart Association. Greater Cincinnati nominees were selected to take part in the initiative because of their passion and drive to make a difference. Katie Gough-Edwards of Cintas Corporation was announced the winner of the challenge, and Oliver Rhine of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center took second place. Together, this

incredible group raised $114,727 in just seven weeks, making it the #4 campaign in the country – and #1 for market size! Thank you to the Leaders of Impact!


Left to right: Beverly A. Grant, 2023 Heart Ball chair; Katie Gough-Edwards, Cintas Corporation; Oliver Rhine, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; Kenny LaRose, Maxim Healthcare Staffing; Michele Kenner, St. Elizabeth Healthcare; Ashley Afya, Innovative Healthcare Institute; and Shawn Young, AtriCure, Inc.

2023 Events Supporting The Greater Cincinnati American Heart Association:

The Greater Cincinnati American Heart Association hosts three core events in addition to the Heart Ball.

The Heart Mini-Marathon and Walk Cincinnati’s largest single-day fundraiser is Sunday, March 19, 2023. Participants can register at 

The Go Red for Women Experience — Held at Great American Ballpark, this fun event includes batting practice, team building and networking on Friday, May 12, 2023. Get more information by visiting 

CycleNation — The newest fundraiser will launch in October 2023. CycleNation is a stationary cycling event that raises funds for stroke research and awareness. Visit to find out more.

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