Open Your Heart and Raise Your Paddles


By: Lindsay Van Zele
Communications Coordinator

Blog-FacebookCardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, with nearly 801,000 deaths in the United States in 2013. That’s nearly one in three deaths in our country!

My family has been affected by heart disease and stroke.

  • Both my paternal grandmother and grandpa suffered heart attacks.
  • Grandmother needed quadruple by-pass surgery back in 2002.
  • My dad had a stent placed to open an artery that was 99 percent blocked. We’re very lucky the doctor was able to get it open. If not, he would have had open heart surgery.

With that in mind, it didn’t take much to convince me to serve on the planning committee for the annual American Heart Association Heart and Stroke Ball being held Saturday, Feb. 6 at the Crowne Plaza. With the theme “Wild at Heart”, this elegant affair will feature dinner, an inspiring survivor story, a live auction and entertainment by one of the most popular bands in Springfield – The Shenanigans.

Our fundraising goal is $150,000! I’m proud to say INB is supporting me as I help the association reach this goal.

The American Heart Association’s (AHA) mission is to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Research is key to advancing surgical techniques, developing the artificial valve, pacemakers and cardiac stents and then sharing results with the research community.

While you were reading this, someone in the United States probably died from heart disease since AHA statistics show someone dies from heart disease about every 84 seconds. I hope my efforts help to change that statistic right here in Sangamon County as the local chapter uses the money it raises to improve the heart health of our community.

Seats are still available. Interested in purchasing a ticket or table, please visit or contact Karen Gedrose at

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