Cheryl Campbell, senior vice president of CGI, shared with us her involvement in the American Heart Association’s Heart Ball event, taking place Feb 26. in Washington, D.C. Campbell is an AHA board member, while CGI is the Healing Heart Society Champion for the event.
GovCon Executive: Tell us a little about what prompted you and your company to become involved with the American Heart Association Greater Washington Region Ball.
Cheryl Campbell: I am currently a member of the Regional Board for the American Heart Association’s Mid-Atlantic Affiliate. It’s an honor to serve in this role because the American Heart Association’s mission is one that is personal and which I feel very passionate about as I am working to break the cycle of a family history of heart disease. But also when you consider that heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the nation, with stroke not far behind at No. 3, the AHA mission of building healthier lives free from cardiovascular diseases and stroke, takes on a significance that is overarching. These diseases affect everyone – men, women and children.
On behalf of CGI, we are thrilled to be in our second year as the American Heart Association’s Healing Heart Society Champion surrounding the Heart Ball and directly supporting an organization making such an important impact on our nation’s health.
The reality is, great partnerships help to make great communities. We are committed to improving the lives of our employee-members, clients and the people living in our communities and we are particularly proud to work with the American Heart Association because there is such a great need for education across our communities, workplaces, and in our own personal circle of friends. If we can help to save lives by raising awareness, even if it’s as simple as hosting an educational seminar for our employees, holding CPR classes, encouraging employees to walk and take part in their local Heart Walks in an effort to get active, we should strive to do so.
GovCon Executive: Why is this cause so important?
Cheryl Campbell: Heart disease kills more people annually than the next five causes of death combined – this is a shocking statistic. The key is to raise awareness that while one in 30 women will die of breast cancer, almost one in three will die from a cardiovascular disease. But the good news is that up to 80 percent of heart attacks can be prevented through simple lifestyle changes like smoking cessation, change in diet and increased physical activity. We need to help our community understand the importance of prevention and living a healthy lifestyle.
Events such as the Heart Ball help do that by bringing the community together to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke as well as raise money for research. The funds raised by the AHA go toward local community outreach efforts to educate the public about heart disease, stroke and the effects of childhood obesity as well as to fund lifesaving cardiovascular research.
GovCon Executive: What can other area executives do to help?
Cheryl Campbell: Without the money raised by this event, life-saving research will go unfunded and lives will be lost.
On behalf of the American Heart Association, I am calling on my fellow business and community leaders and everyone out there to support the Heart Ball by partnering with us and by attending the event. The Heart Ball provides many wonderful opportunities for businesses to positively impact the lives of many in our community as well as their own employees.
GovCon Executive: What will be some of the highlights of the upcoming ball?
Cheryl Campbell: The DC Heart Ball is now in its 13th year. It is on Feb. 26 and serves as a grand finale of sorts for American Heart Month.
The Heart Ball is an elegant, black-tie celebration of life. It brings together more than 600 of the area’s most prominent corporate leaders, philanthropists, and health care and community leaders for an inspirational evening of dinner, dancing, live entertainment and live and silent auctions. We honor survivors of heart attack and stroke and hear their stories firsthand. Children, teenagers, men and women will share their inspirational stories of survival and recovery. We will also be honoring members of the military – specifically military doctors who have helped save the lives of our men and women serving in war zones and around the world.
The evening will include wonderful food, dancing, and phenomenal live and silent auctions with exciting items to bid on. For the political and history buffs in the room, we have a special afternoon with Dr. Henry Kissinger. He will spend a private hour with the winning bidder’s group of 10 in New York City. We have trips to France with business-class airfare, a three-home compound in Hawaii that comes with a chef, butler, and masseuse, dinner for 10 in your home prepared by chef Brian McBride of Blue Duck Tavern, and so much more. There is something for everyone–a grand evening in honor of the men and women who serve in our armed forces, survivors, doctors and supporters of the American Heart Association.
The Heart Ball truly is the premier social event in recognition of AHA mission-related activities in the Greater Washington Region and will be held at the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, Va. More information can be found on the website www.dcheartball.com
GovCon Executive: You mentioned you are honoring military doctors – could you explain?
Cheryl Campbell: This is part of the Heart Heroes program CGI partners with the American Heart Association—now in its second year. This campaign struck a chord with CGI because we are in the business of health information management and technology and are working with federal and state governments to advance the delivery of care to better support providers, patients, and their cross-collaboration with the government. Our Heart Hero doctors are at the tip of the spear – taking the best of health technology and bringing it into new regions to provide the best possible care to their patients.
We have selected a group of extremely talented men and women of the armed forces who are fighting cardiovascular disease both stateside and in the battlefield – they truly are serving our military members around the world. These military doctors care for our sons and daughters and their passion around advancing cardiovascular care through research, education and healing have made them true heroes. CGI and AHA recognize them by telling their story and honoring them at the Heart Ball to thank them for their contributions. We produce a video and poster boards that tell their story through placements planned to be displayed around the region.
GovCon Executive: What would you like to see happen in order for you to consider the event a success?
Cheryl Campbell: At CGI, we strongly believe it is our corporate social responsibility to give back to the community in which we live and to highlight the important work the Heart Heroes and the American Heart Association do to fight a disease that touches all of us. I think that this also reflects my vision of what success would be for the Heart Ball – to celebrate life and to raise funds so that we can continue saving lives.
The funds go toward local community outreach efforts to educate the public about heart disease, stroke and the effects of childhood obesity. For example, AHA works with many local organizations to provide fitness programs for children of communities in need. The District has some of the worst levels of childhood obesity, so funds from the Heart Ball have been specifically directed to address this local issue.
Funds raised by the Heat Ball also go toward national AHA initiatives. Research funded by American Heart Association has yielded: Artificial Valves, CPR, Clot-Busting Drugs, Pacemakers, Angioplasty, Bypass Surgery, Medicines to Control High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol. It has also led to important discoveries like the link between smoking and heart disease and to food labeling guidelines.
So you see, success for the Greater Washington Region Heart Ball would be to secure the funding year over year for the American Heart Association so it can continue to help communities through lifesaving research and medical advances, become more aware of the ways to avoid heart disease, and live longer, healthier lives.