Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the U.S.—and globally—accounting for approximately one in every five. And thousands more nonfatal cardiac events occur each year. Through groundbreaking medical research and community education on heart disease, the American Heart Association is working to combat these dangerous statistics. The nonprofit is relentlessly dedicated to creating a world that promotes longer, healthier lives.

One of the most important ways to combat heart disease is CPR education, according to Jennifer Jaeger, executive director of the local American Heart Association chapter. “Around 90% of people who experience out-of-hospital cardiac arrest die,” she explains. “It’s been shown that CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple the chance of survival. We all have imagined the scenario where CPR is something performed on a stranger in public, but the reality is most instances of cardiac arrest happen at home. The life you could save is likely going to be someone you love.”

To help draw attention to the importance of CPR education, the association’s St. Louis Heart Ball will spotlight the story of a local family who saved their daughter’s life with CPR. As one of the nonprofit’s signature annual fundraisers, Jaeger notes that the event plays a fundamental role in supporting its mission. “The Heart Ball is a chance to engage the corporate and medical communities of St. Louis and allows us to raise the funds necessary to continue our work,” she says. This year’s event is Feb. 25 at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis, and the signature sponsor is Daugherty Business Solutions. Guests can look forward to an evening of fine dining, entertainment from the Daugherty Band and an exciting auction.

The funds raised by the Heart Ball will support the American Heart Association’s 2024 Health Equity Impact Goal. The initiative aims to address barriers to health care access and quality. “We typically set a 10-year impact goal, and we were in the process of developing the next one when the pandemic happened,” Jaeger explains. “We saw problems we were already aware of in the health care system come to the forefront, and it became clear we really needed to shorten the time frame and focus on removing barriers to quality health care.” Heart Ball chair Ron Daugherty adds, “Daugherty is tremendously committed to equity in education, jobs and health; the single most powerful way to promote health equity is to support the American Heart Association.”

The nonprofit is committed to improving heart health for all people in the region. One way it unites the community is the Heart of St. Louis campaign, an initiative that brings local leaders together to invest in supporting the health of the community. The campaign culminates in the Heart Ball, so the event also serves as a celebration of the organization’s progress. “We’re involved in every aspect of the St. Louis community, and we strive to make sustainable achievements,” Jaeger says. “In 2024, the American Heart Association will celebrate its 100th anniversary. It’s an opportunity to look back on what we’ve done and look forward to the work we still have to do.”

The American Heart Association’s local chapter is committed to improving heart health for all people in the region. Its St. Louis Heart Ball is Feb. 25 at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis. Pictured on the cover: Heart Ball event chair Ron Daugherty. For more information, call 314.692.5629 or visit heart.org/stlheartball.

Cover design by Julie Streiler
Cover photo by Colin Miller of Strauss Peyton Photography

Pictured at top: Guests at the St. Louis Heart Ball
Photo courtesy of American Heart Association