The work of the 31st annual Heart Ball was to help turn "Mission: Impossible" into "Mission: Possible."
Aided by SWAT team members Chris Mace, John Knipe and Donald Hickox, and with the Apogee Rope Access team entering the Broadmoor International Center via ropes from the ceiling, more than 370 guests raised $235,000 toward "building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke."
Capturing the hearts of the attendees at the Feb. 22 gala was adorable 7-month-old Elliott Lane, who brought his parents, Lauren and Dillon. In the evening's featured video, Lauren said she vividly remembers when the call came from the OB/GYN during her fifth month of pregnancy. There was something wrong with the baby's heart and chance of survival was small, the doctor said.
An emergency flight to Boston Children's Hospital followed and "fetal intervention" surgery was performed in the womb. Five days after Elliott was born, the first open-heart surgery was performed because he had one ventricle instead of two. The second surgery was five months later and the next could be 18 months away. Elliott's future is uncertain, but his dad is convinced "he's going to be an awesome little kid. He's my little rock star."
After their time on the stage as their story was told, the Lanes met Heart Ball Hero retired Lt. Gen. Mike Gould, former superintendent of the Air Force Academy. The 38-year Air Force veteran was personally touched by Elliott's story because Gould and his wife, Paula, are grandparents.
A live auction heart-tugger was the adoption of a dog rescued by National Mill Dog Rescue.
Sponsors of the American Heart Association fundraiser were Wells Fargo, whose regional director, Scott R. Bacon, was event chair; The Anschutz Foundation; AMR; Spectranetics; Penrose-St. Francis Health Services; Kuni Lexus; El Pomar Foundation; Memorial Hospital University of Colorado Health; Front Range Orthopaedics; Kaiser Permanente; and thrive.
Heart Association Save the Dates: Colorado Springs Heart & Stroke Walk, June 14, csheartwalk.org; 2014 Go Red for Women Luncheon, Sept. 19, heart.org.