|Two past heart care recipients take the lead in raising funds to assist other patients|
|Wednesday, 01 February 2012 18:36|
NASSAU, Bahamas -- It’s Heart Month and two young ladies want to invite the general public to take initiative and live heart healthy. More importantly, they want the public to follow their lead and help repair the hearts of children in The Bahamas. Heart disease is the number one killer of persons around the world and in The Bahamas.
Heart disease does not discriminate by age, gender, social status or other. As such it can affect individuals, from newborns to senior citizens. What is significant about these two young ladies is that they themselves are heart survivors. They received heart surgeries as infants, thanks to the generosity of The Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation and the generous donations of others.
Amber Lightbourne and Hadassah Greene are both 9th graders with high aspirations and dreams. Their parents and The Almighty God keep them focused and grounded: Their parents often remind them of the life they have and how fortunate they both are to be alive. Neither of these two young ladies takes the beautiful gift of life for granted. Nor do they take the kindness given to their parents for granted, when they were babies in need of urgent heart surgeries, without which they could have died.
Like many other parents today, when Amber and Hadassah were born with heart defects, their parents did not have the financial resources or tools to assist their precious babies. As such, they needed assistance. Thanks to the generosity of The Heart Foundation children, like Amber and Hadassah, are able to receive heart care.
Recently, The Heart Ball Committee hosted its Annual Tea Party & Fashion Show, one of its two major fund raisers. Amber and Hadassah decided that it was time for them to give back; they were not only going to be faces for The Foundation, but they were going out there to raise funds themselves. They invited a group of young people to join the fight against heart disease in children. As such, between them both, they sold two and a half (2 ½) tables for the event, generating a revenue of some $875.
Additionally, they have taken initiative to offer their services during heart month to create awareness of heart disease in children and also to help raise funds. They are very, very, anxious to serve and assist other children who, like them at one point in time, need heart care. When Amber was asked why and how she will manage to balance out school work and their new project, Amber said:
“It does not take away from my study time. I assist because I’m a heart patient. I do it to create awareness and encourage more people to donate to the Heart Foundation. When you look at me you can see I’m real and know I’m a survivor. Other young children need to have operations. So the money raised will be used to assist these children with operations.”
There are many ways the public can get involved in heart month (February), while helping to repair a heart. The major fund-raising event during February is The Annual Heart Ball, which will be held under the patronage of His Excellency Sir Arthur and Lady Foulkes. It is sponsored in part by TheBahamasweekly.com, Cable Bahamas, Floral Arts, British Airways, Atlantis, Pictet Bank, Insurance Company of The Bahamas, Atlantic Medical, and Bahanime Studios.
The theme for The Ball is “Repairing a broken heart…what a gift”. The Annual Heart Ball will be held on Saturday, February 18, 2012, at Sheraton Nassau. There will be an in-house raffle, table prizes and a silent auction. There will also be the presentation of The Lady Sassoon Golden Heart Award. Live entertainment will be provided by The S-G Band, The Ed Brice Orchestra and The RBDF Dance Band.
The public is also invited to support The Heart Foundation by making gift, memorial and financial donations. Additionally, “Go Red” dress pins will be sold and made available for a minimum donation of $3. The public is also invited to become members of The Bahamas Heart Association and pay membership fees, depending on the level chosen. All funds raised from these exercises help to repair the hearts of children. Over 97 % of all funds raised go directly to heart care. As a non-profit organization, The Heart Foundation depends heavily on the generosity of others to assist with heart care. Often time, patients receive care locally. However, many children must be sent to Florida for heart care, which can be very costly without financial support.
Additionally during the month of February The Bahamas Heart Association will host educational and fundraising activities. February 11 - Free CPR classes at S C McPherson, February 17th - Go Red Day, February 23rd – Health Fair at Town Centre Mall, and February 25th – Fun Run Walk. Schools are encouraged to have their students wear red for $1 on February 17th in support of “Go Red” day. The funds raised by this exercise are asked to be donated to The Heart Foundation to help repair a child’s heart.
In Hadassah’s words: “I would encourage others to support The Heart Foundation because they helped me. As a child, at 7 ½ months, I was fighting for my life and was given a chance at life via the financial assistance from The Heart Foundation. You can look at me now and see a healthy teenager, who at a point in time needed my heart mended. I would encourage other people to give children a chance at life, particularly those with heart disease.”
To purchase tickets to The Annual Heart Ball, to make a donation or for more information please call The Heart Foundation at 327-0806 through 10.
Photo 1: Hadassah Greene, Chelby Nicole-Beneby, Amber Lightbourne, Ebony McPhee, and Atarrah Wright.
The Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation, commonly referred to as The Heart Foundation, was established in 1961 by Lady Evelyn Sassoon to assist persons with heart care, who could not ordinarily afford it. To date they have assisted over 4,000 patients. The Heart Ball Committee is the fund raising arm of The Heart Foundation. Additionally, The Heart Foundation works in conjunction with The Bahamas Heart Association to educate and the public about heart care and heart healthy lifestyles. As such, they host health fairs and welcome opportunities to speak at institutions and events. The Association also supports The Foundation through their fund raising efforts.
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