Todd & Karen Wanek Co-Chair American Heart Association – Tampa Bay Heart Ball


Raising more than $2,500,000 for research and education efforts

TAMPA, FL – On Saturday, April 21, Todd Wanek, President and CEO of Ashley HomeStore (Ashley) and wife Karen co-chaired the 60th Anniversary Tampa Bay Heart Ball along with Ken Jones, CEO of Third Lake Capital and wife Jenny. Ashley HomeStore was a presenting sponsor for the Heart of the Possible event. This year’s event raised more than $2,500,000 for the American Heart Association and will go toward funding research and education of the No. 1 and No. 5 killers of Americans, heart disease and stroke.

Most Americans have been impacted by heart disease or stroke in some way – including my own family. My goal as co-chair of the Heart Ball is to help the American Heart Association – locally, regionally and nationally – further invest in meritorious research with the hopes that one day we can beat heart disease, said Todd Wanek.

The American Heart Association was founded in 1924 and is approaching its 95th birthday but here in Tampa Bay we’re proud to support 60 years of Heart Ball – a legacy I’m honored to be a part of. It’s astounding to see, through events like Heart Ball, how much change we can make through funding research and educational programs, said Ken Jones.

The Tampa Bay Heart Ball is a premier event benefiting the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. The Heart Ball is a celebration that raises funds for education and meritorious research specific to heart disease and stroke. With the funding made available by the Heart Ball, more parents will watch their children graduate from high school, more grandparents will be able to spend time with their grandchildren and fewer children will have lost their lives to congenital heart defects.

Celebrating 60 years of change:

• 1957: The first battery-operated wearable pacemaker is implanted in a patient.

• 1960: Dr. Albert Starr performs the first successful heart valve replacement.

• 1968: Funded by the American Heart Association, Dr. William Conner finds that a drug called cholestyramine can lower cholesterol in the blood.

• 1990: An American Heart Association career investigator receives FDA approval for a drug that treats a life-threatening condition for premature infants with heart and lung defects.

• 2008: The American Heart Association releases new recommendations that say bystanders can skip mouth-to-mouth and use Hands-Only CPR to help an adult or teen who suddenly collapses.

• 2017: The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology redefine high blood pressure for the first time in 14 years. High blood pressure is now considered any measurement at or above 130 systolic or 80 diastolic. These guidelines serve to help with detection, prevention, management and treatment of high blood pressure.

Ashley HomeStore has been a long-time supporter of the American Heart Association, donating more than $240,000 to the Florida chapter over the last four years, toward raising awareness and contributing to the fight against cardiovascular disease, the No. 1 killer of Americans.

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