Elegant ladies in evening gowns and glittering Venetian masks took the arms of formally attired men, many wearing red ties, and strolled the lobby of Broadmoor Hall for an Elizabethan "Midwinter Night's Dream."
The 34th annual Heart Ball was one of those special nights to remember for the 380 patrons on Feb. 11.
Looking up as they entered the red and white ballroom, guests watched curiously what appeared to be cocoons suspended from the ceiling. Softly and quietly the cocoons opened for Cirque Du Soleil-style aerial silks performances by Dragonfly Aerial Company.
Highlights of the evening also included an unforgettable guitarist, Martin Gordon, the evening's Heart Survivor honoree. Something unusual seemed to have been happening to this busy man and his wife spotted it instantly. Eyes were a blank stare. A stroke. He was rushed to the hospital where a new Stroke Alert multi-disciplinary team had just been put in place and in less than an hour, starting with the clot-busting tPA drug, the clot that moved from his heart to his brain had been delicately removed. But would he/could he play "Mustang Sally" with the West Side Rhythm Kings ever again? Daughter Carissa was the sneaky one, bringing a ukulele into the ICU and putting it in his hands. Just 24 hours after the procedure, staff told the doctor he wouldn't believe it, Martin was strumming away. And a smiling Martin Gordon and several of the Kings played for the Heart Ball audience that night.
As the Heart Ball chair Debbie Chandler said, cardiovascular disease is still the number one killer of Americans and stroke the leading cause of disability. However, looking at "Marty" they could see how stroke research and treatment is moving forward. The Heart Ball attendees responded, raising $162,000.
Stroke survivor Deb Mahan, a member of the Heart Ball's Executive Leadership Team, received the Hero Award.
Other members of the evening's leadership team were Heart Association of Southern Colorado Board Chair Col. Robert Wright, Kelly Bain, Ed Baur, Kevin Blakeley, Ann Cesare, Gary Cooper, Tamera Dunseth-Rosenbaum, Dr. David Greenberg, Dr. Andrew Hauk, Irina Riley, Devin Ringling and Bill Stahelin.
Upcoming: Heart & Stroke Walk with 5K run, June 3, Switchbacks Stadium. Go Red for Women Education Day, Sept. 22.