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Central Arkansas Heart Ball chairs to spread message of health equity

May 5, 2022 - Rhys Branman, MD

Dr. Branman and Leslie Harmon for AHA EventCampaign raises funds to help increase healthy life years in Little Rock and U.S

The Central Arkansas office of the American Heart Association (AHA), the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, has named Leslie Harmon and fiancée Dr. Rhys Branman, as co-chairs of the Heart of Central Arkansas campaign. This year’s Heart Ball will be April 2 at the Statehouse Convention Center.

In their roles, the Harmon and Branman are focused on driving equitable health for every member of the Little Rock area community with a special focus on giving people more time with their loved ones, free of heart disease and stroke. The theme of the 2022 ball is “The Gift of Time.”

In Arkansas and across the United States, heart disease remains the No. 1 killer, despite more than 900,000 lives lost to Covid-19. People with high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease are at an increased risk for serious complications, even death, from Covid-19, and these pre-existing conditions are contributing to racial disparities in coronavirus death rates.

“This past year, in the midst of the pandemic, we saw a dangerous and disturbing trend as people across the country and right here in our community delayed their health care out of fear of COVID-19,” said Dr. Branman. “Here in Little Rock, our neighbors continue to delay care for serious heart attack symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath, which can ultimately be the difference between life and death.”

“As a couple involved in the medical field, we understand the importance of good heart health,” added Harmon. “We attend medical conventions all over the world, and everywhere we go, we’re aware of the statistics on heart disease. We feel it is important for us to do our part in helping educate the public.”

“It’s more important than ever that we reach our community to share the signs and symptoms of heart disease and stroke, and to treat them as the emergency they are,” Branman added.

The couples will lead a year-long campaign, culminating in the Central Arkansas Heart. The event unites the community in celebrating progress toward equitable health and honoring survivors of heart disease and stroke.

The ball will feature live and silent auctions, a celebration and presentation of the 2021-2022 Sweethearts Class, dinner, entertainment by the 12 South Band and chance for attendees to give in honor of a designated heart/stroke survivor.

The dollars raised by the Heart of Central Arkansas campaign will help fund the mission of the American Heart Association to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives while supporting priority issues in the Little Rock area.

Harmon and Branman are working with a committee of volunteer leaders on the campaign, which aims to draw some 700 guests and raise $300,000.

To learn more about the Central Arkansas Heart Ball, visit CentralARHeartBall.heart.org or contact Kathy.Finley@heart.org for more information.

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About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook or Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

For Media Inquiries

Cyd King: M 479.263.8473; cyd.king@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721) heart.org and strokeassociation.org

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