The Heart Of It All

National Park Medical Center continues it commitment to the community and heart health focus as presenting sponsor for the Hot Springs Heart Ball.


By Jillian McGehee | Photography by Jeff Fuller-Freeman | Shot on location at the National Park Medical Center helipad | Special thanks to Tim Jackson, Flight Paramedic; Amy Jo Ray, Flight Nurse; and Roger Armstrong, Pilot with Survival Flight 6


Heart care is vital in any community, and the Hot Springs area is fortunate to have ample resources and access to it. National Park Medical Center with its Heart and Vascular Center for Central Arkansas is the first heart hospital in the region to combine inpatient, outpatient and critical heart care with a full-service hospital.

In conjunction with this heart health focus, the medical center is the presenting sponsor for the Hot Springs Heart Ball and its Sweetheart program, benefiting the American Heart Association. Serving as co-chairs of the Heart Ball are Mary Noel and Jerry Mabry, President of the Arkansas Market for RCCH Healthcare Partners, which includes NPMC.

Jerry says the medical center is proud to be increasing access to heart care services. “Heart disease remains the number one killer of both men and women,” he notes. “It is important to serve as the presenting sponsor of this event because we continue to display a high level of dedication to fight heart disease.”

On a personal level, Jerry lost his father, who was only in his mid-40s, to heart disease. “There were no treatment options,” he says. “When something like this happens to you it becomes an ever-present factor in your life. We are all blessed with light years of technological and clinical advancements through the decades. People can now live relatively normal lives with heart disease under current treatment advancements.”

Mary Noel adds, “You never know when heart disease will affect you or a member of your family. Heart disease is the number one killer among Americans, but there has been significant success in education for prevention and treatment through healthy lifestyle and diet.”

Jerry notes that the medical center is honored to work with the Russell family to continue the development of the Sweetheart program – now in its 11th year. “As a leader in the Hot Springs healthcare community, I consider it an important part of our job to remain involved with the American Heart Association,” he says. “Prevention and education is just as important as having the latest technologies and procedures to treat heart disease. We want the community to know that we are absolutely committed to both.”

Not only do the Heart Ball and Sweetheart program raise funds for heart disease research and education, but they also help raise awareness of the heart disease epidemic in the community, Jerry says.

The Sweethearts program is comprised of around 40 high school sophomores who complete the comprehensive program that develops civic leadership and heart health advocacy. They participate in educational and volunteer opportunities organized by the American Heart Association. They are trained in both infant and adult CPR, and NPMC provides a tour of the cardiac catheterization labs among other learning experiences.

This year’s theme, Ignite Change, exemplifies exactly what organizers plan to do at the Heart Ball. “We hope the program will help ignite changes in attendees’ daily lifestyle to decrease their risk factors for heart disease and increase awareness of personal health changes,” Jerry says.

The Hot Springs Heart Ball is recognized as one of the area’s premier events, says Jerry. “Turf catering has helped us plan a great menu in addition to the live and silent auctions, our guests will enjoy the presentation of the Sweethearts and the music of DJ Hollywood.” Mary Noel adds, “Along with the opportunity to support the continued research of the American Heart Association, the evening promises to be fun for all.”

Inviting Arkansas

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