The American Heart Association Heart Ball

Jason and Megan Toalson, Matt Cain and Dana Patrick, Alex and Blair Jones, Andy and Nicole Burks at the 2015 Columbia, MO Heart and Stroke Ball

In 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed that February should be American Heart Month, declaring “over one-half of the 10 million Americans afflicted by cardiovascular diseases are stricken during their most productive years, thereby causing a staggering physical and economic loss to the nation.” Each year, hundreds of cities around the United States host an annual Heart and Stroke Ball during the month of February to raise money for the American Heart Association. Funds raised through these events fund lifesaving research, advocacy and educational programs for cardiovascular disease and stroke. The evenings include elegant dinners, auctions and live entertainment.

The 13th annual Hugh E. Stephenson, Jr., MD Heart and Stroke Ball in Columbia, MO took place on February 20, 2016 at the Reynolds Alumni Center at the University of Missouri. The gala raised more than $201,000 to support education and research for cardiovascular disease and stroke. JES Holdings sponsored the event.

The American Heart Association was founded in 1924 by six cardiologists. At this time, people with heart disease were considered to be doomed to bed rest–or worse. Thanks to the association, great strides have been made in curing heart disease. Today, the organization boasts more than 22.5 million volunteers and supporters, including 156 local offices and more than 3,000 employees. Currently, heart disease is the number one killer in the world. Each year, heart disease kills more than 786,000 Americans. The association is working towards improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent, and reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent, all by the year 2020.

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