It was a sweetheart of a night indeed when the American Heart Association's annual Heart Ball, held on Valentine's Day, earned a whopping $2 million, breaking previous records and surpassing the financial goal by $500,000.
For this special evening, the Hilton Americas-Houston ballroom was awash in swaths of pink, purple and red decor by Bergner & Johnson, the theme accented by the scores of ladies stepping out in red gowns for the black-tie fundraiser.
Taking bows for the over-the-top success were chairs Brenda and Marc Watts, president of The Friedkin Group, which cosponsored the gala with Lexus. Also contributing to the fundraising effort were auction co-chairs Judy and Russ Labrasca and Amanda and Jeff Malone, Open Your Heart chairs Liz and Robert Rigney and auction-raffle chairs Mel Johnson and Eric Weiser.
Gala honorees, contributing their part to the gala's success, were Jeanne and Peter Kinnear, Community Honorees; Medical Honoree Dr. Daniel Penny of Texas Children's Hospital; and FMC Technologies, Corporate Honoree. The program included a moving testimonial by 12-year-old heart transplant patient, Anthony Hailey Jr., who told of his journey from being the youngest person in the U.S. to receive an LVAD implant before a heart could be found to get that transplant.
The night's diversions began with J&D Entertainment aerial performers, who gave special meaning to the gala theme — "Love Is in the Air" — as they twirled and swung above the cocktail reception crowd. Sauce the Band kept the dance floor hopping.
Among the happiest of the Valentine's Day love birds were Catherine and Dr. John Higgins, winners of the Lexus IS 250, and Dr. Julia Andrieni and Dr. Robert Phillips, who were top bidders for the one-of-a-kind Tahitian Pearl necklace designed by Mark Pharo.
Celebrants included Arvia and Jason Few, Lacey and Matt Goossen, Jan Carson and Tim Connelly, Jim Postl, Leticia and Steve Trauber, Dianne and Mike Bowman, Marsha and Fred Haas, Kristin and Jay Waring and Debbie and Jack Moore.