More than 600 guests packed the ballroom at the Hilton Americas-Houston for the American Heart Association's annual black-tie fundraising gala, the 2017 Heart Ball chaired by Texas Medical Center president and CEO Dr. Robert C. Robbins.
With funds raised in live and silent auctions, the support of numerous guests, the raffle of a brand new 2017 BMW 530i donated by Houston Area BMW Dealers, and a surprise $150,000 donation from AmRisc, the grand event raised $2.2 million (and still counting) for the American Heart Association, whose mission is to reduce death caused by heart disease and stroke.
Houston event design company Darryl & Co. transformed the ballroom into a French-inspired "Secret Garden," with pops of green ivy trimmings and other details adorning the space. Living human trees and aerialists provided by J&D Entertainment greeted guests as they entered the room.
Glowing at nine months pregnant, KHOU meteorologist Chita Craft, who attended the evening with her husband Lane Craft, served as event emcee. Speakers Timothy Singletary, who was born with a congenital heart defect, and his wife Joanne Houck, joined Chita Craft on stage as the couple credited their love story to the research and efforts of the American Heart Association.
Community honorees Debbie and Jack Moore, auction co-chairs Kristin and Jay Waring, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Vicki and John Crum, Beverly and Jim Postl, Ann and Peter Fluor, Dr. Mae Jemison, Janiece Longoria and Steve Lasher, Margaret Alkek Williams and Jim Daniels, Jack Pendergast, and 2018 Heart Ball chairs Cathy and Joe Cleary came out to support the cause.
Also joining in were Lacey and Matthew Goosen, Carolyn and Frank Grese, Lindsey and Greg Heath, Jenn and Jeff Parent, Dr. Daniel Penny, Beverly and Jim Postl, Joanne Houck and Timothy Singletary, Genny and Rob Walters, Brenda and Marc Watts, Dr. Benjamin Chu, president and CEO at Memorial Hermann Health System who accepted the award for 2017 Heart Ball corporate honoree, Donna Moylan, Laura Bellows, and Lara Bell and Brent Milam.