Houston's Virtual Heart Ball Raises an Astonishing $1.5 Million — COVID Cannot Slow This City's Giving Spirit – PaperCity Magazine

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April & Dr. Jorge Salazar host a viewing party for the American Heart Association Houston chapter virtual gala. (Photo by PWL Studio)
World-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma performs during the American Heart Association Houston chapter virtual gala. (Photo by PWL Studio)
Jerry & Lisa Simon chair the American Heart Association’s The Heart of Houston virtual gala. (Photo by PWL Studio)
Russ & Judy Labrasca receive their party boxes in advance of the American Heart Association’s virtual gala. (Photo by PWL Studio)
Roslyn Bazzelle Mitchell displays her commemorative American Heart Association scarf in advance of tuning into the AHA virtual gala. (Photo by PWL Studio)
American Heart Association virtual gala honorees Skip & Shirley Allen (Photo by PWL Studio)
April and Dr. Jorge Salazar, pediatric cardio-thoracic surgeon at Memorial Hermann, tune into the American Heart Association virtual gala. (Photo by PWL Studio)
Artisanal charcuterie boxes and crudités from A Fare Extraordinaire were delivered to the homes of those participating the American Heart Association virtual gala. (Photo by PWL Studio)
Heart-themed wines were delivered to participants in the American Heart Association virtual gala. (Photo by PWL Studio)
April & Dr. Jorge Salazar host a viewing party for the American Heart Association Houston chapter virtual gala. (Photo by PWL Studio)
World-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma performs during the American Heart Association Houston chapter virtual gala. (Photo by PWL Studio)
Jerry & Lisa Simon chair the American Heart Association’s The Heart of Houston virtual gala. (Photo by PWL Studio)
Russ & Judy Labrasca receive their party boxes in advance of the American Heart Association’s virtual gala. (Photo by PWL Studio)
Roslyn Bazzelle Mitchell displays her commemorative American Heart Association scarf in advance of tuning into the AHA virtual gala. (Photo by PWL Studio)
American Heart Association virtual gala honorees Skip & Shirley Allen (Photo by PWL Studio)
April and Dr. Jorge Salazar, pediatric cardio-thoracic surgeon at Memorial Hermann, tune into the American Heart Association virtual gala. (Photo by PWL Studio)
Artisanal charcuterie boxes and crudités from A Fare Extraordinaire were delivered to the homes of those participating the American Heart Association virtual gala. (Photo by PWL Studio)
Heart-themed wines were delivered to participants in the American Heart Association virtual gala. (Photo by PWL Studio)
What: The American Heart Association’s “The Heart of Houston” virtual event
Where: The virtual event was viewed from patrons’ homes
PC Moment: The AHA year-long fundraising campaign reached a crescendo in early February with the virtual evening that replaced the annual gala. Chairs Lisa and Jerry Simon revealed that the effort had brought in $1.5 million, that figure placing the gala among other remarkable Houston-run charitable fundraisers that crossed  the million dollar milestone in spite of the current COVID-19 handicap. These include the Houston Zoo Ball, $1.2 million; JDRF Gala, $1.2 million and the Notre-Dame restoration event in Mexico City, $1.4 million.
Proceeds from the Heart Association event will fund AHA research and education programs that are aimed at improving individual health and well-being and ultimately saving lives from heart disease and stroke.
Participants were treated to an introductory musical interlude by the Veritas quintet and were entertained with presentations from the evening’s headliner world renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, performing from his home in Boston.
Rodolfo Sandoval, a purple heart recipient, Vietnam veteran and grandfather to his five granddaughters, was the AHA survivor honoree. Gala honorees Kathleen Allen and Shirley and Skip Allen were acknowledged by American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown and former National AHA Chairman Jim Postl, and many others.
While the program churned on, guests could enjoy artisanal charcuterie boxes and crudités, delivered to their doors, from A Fare Extraordinaire.
PC Seen Tuning In: Fox 26 news anchor Melissa Wilson as emcee, Roslyn Bazzelle Mitchell and Derrick Mitchell, Judy and Russ Labrasca, April and Dr. Jorge Salazar, Rachel and Tim Dash, Nancy Ames and Danny Ward, Lacey and Matt Goossen, Beverly Postl, and Debbie and Jack Moore.
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