Who Will You Give For?
Porters co-chairing Heart Ball fundraiser
Dr. Lance and Dee Ann Porter have had a long involvement with the annual Heart Ball, serving as cochairs for the 2014 event, which they hope will raise over $100,000 for the American Heart Association.
The AHA, in turn, uses the funds for research, education, nutritional programs for people of all ages, heart healthy exercise programs and setting guidelines for 2,000 hospitals nationwide.
“The funds, on a large scale, are going to 980 different cardiovascular research projects and reach 80,000 students and parents to encourage them to have healthy eating habits. On the state scale, there are seven cutting-edge cardiovascular research projects and a lot of updates to current treatments,” Dee Ann said.
Lance, who is a dentist, said he has learned several things over the years that he passes on to his patients.
“We have really come to realize how important dental and oral health is in the first step to prevent heart disease and stroke. It’s all connected, and it starts at the mouth,” he said.
This year’s Heart Ball theme is “Who Will You Give For.” It is set for Feb. 15 in Horner Hall at the Hot Springs Convention Center.
“The Heart Ball is typically one of the biggest events in our community every year, and the support we get is tremendous. It’s usually a sellout,” Lance said. The Porters are chairing a committee of volunteers who, in their words, have been dedicated for several months in trying to make this year’s event the biggest and best ever. “There were 550 who attended last year, and Hot Springs has set the bar for other Heart Balls as we have typically superseded goals. The Hot Springs community and the surrounding area is a very generous and giving one. This starts with our committee, and this year we conducted a trial run on a two-committee structure,” Lance explained. Over 50 people are involved in some way to make
the Heart Ball a reality with the Porters overseeing a regular committee of 11 people that are tending to the specific details, while an executive team, composed of 10 community leaders, are responsible for gathering corporate sponsorship for the ball.
“They are all doing a fantastic job. We couldn’t ask more of them,” Dee Ann said.
The Porters have worked in the past helping to secure sponsorship, and the entire Heart Ball has become a family tradition for them. Lance’s father has given a testimony at the Heart Ball after suffering a heart attack at age 54, but recovered because of the excellent treatment he received thanks to new research and techniques.
Their daughters are involved as well in the Sweethearts division, which is composed of high school-aged students in the area who work to promote a hearthealthy lifestyle. Their oldest daughter Hannah was a Sweetheart last year, and their other daughter Madelyn was a Junior Sweetheart in 2006.
“The Sweethearts, led by Kathryn Russel, are wonderful in engaging young people to start off with a healthy lifestyle through exercise and eating properly,” Dee Ann said.
“Heart disease doesn’t discriminate on age, race or gender. It can hit anyone at anytime if you aren’t leading a healthy lifestyle to keep your heart strong. That’s what the Heart Ball is all about, and at this year’s event, we plan to have testimonies of people who have come back from a cardiac episode through the new breakthroughs in research along with teaching them how to eat a proper diet and exercise,” Lance added.
The Sweethearts are also working to help raise money for the AHA and will conduct a program as part of the evening’s festivities, which begins with dinner at 7 p.m.
After the 7 p.m. dinner, the Sweethearts will dance with their fathers and have a program as well. Music is being provided by the band “Mayday at Midnight.”
An educational video will be presented along with testimonials and a live auction.
The four biggest items on the auction block are a weekend on a houseboat on Lake Ouachita, a duck hunting trip, an artist proof painting from Dee Arthur Wilson, world-renowned artist and former Hot Springs resident who now lives in Florida, and box seats for up to 20 people to see a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game in April.
“We have a lot of great items up for auction, which will be key in helping us reach our goal of $100,000, along with the corporate sponsorships and the ticket sales,” Dee Ann said.
Tickets to the 2014 Heart Ball are $125 and may be purchased online at http://hotspringsheartball.ahaevents.org or by calling 870-703-9502.
Hot Springs High School – Anna Butler. Lakeside High School – Lauren Alford, Chandler Carter, Holley Coker, Summer Coker, Erin Davis, Emily Dunn, Kathryn Garner, Logan Gaston, Haleigh Horner, Nena Igbokidi, Lauren Irwin, Alicia Kalinowsky, Haley Knighten, Abby Leal, Lauren Lovelady, Catherine Aseguera, Taylor Preston, Rai Pullin, Emma Reagan, Kaitlyn Rhodes, Anna Soto, Payton Toland, Faith Twyford, Allie Williams and Chloe Worley.
Lake Hamilton High School – Maggie Glover, Lisa Goss, Keily Hecke, Eleanor Henson, Madison Kilby, Mallory Mixon, Haley Moore and Hannah Moore.