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Black Tie International:
American Heart Association Reaches $1.5 Million Through
The 55th Annual Palm Beach Heart Ball



Photos by: Lucien Capehart Photography

Donald Trump and Melania Trump, Joy Philbin and Regis Philbin

Petra Levin and Melania Trump

Donald and Melania Trump, Joy and Regis Philbin

Petra Levin and Melania Trump


Patrick Park and Nathalie Fernandez De LaValle

Stephen Levin and Petra Levin

Patrick Park and Nathalie Fernandez De LaValle

Stephen and Petra Levin

Kristy Clark and Jim Clark Rhoda Chase and David Chase

Kristy and Jim Clark

Rhoda and David Chase

          PALM BEACH, Fla. -  More than 460 guests opened their hearts and joined chairmen Melania Trump and Petra Levin for an enchanting and elegant evening at the 55th Annual Palm Beach Heart Ball on Feb. 13. The 2010 gala at The Mar-a-Lago Club once again exceeded its fundraising goals by raising more than $1.5 million to benefit the American Heart Association’s key initiatives to combat heart disease and stroke.

           This year’s International Honorary Chairman was Sir Elton John, and National Honorary Chairman was Donald J. Trump. Honorary Chairmen were Dame Celia Lipton Farris, Patrick M. Park and Nathalie Fernandez De LaValle; Legacy Chairman Anne Eisenhower; Luxury Chairman Henri Barguirdjian of GRAFF; and Fashion Ambassador Michael Kors. GRAFF and MICHAEL KORS were the Grand Benefactors of the 2010 event.

“We’re here tonight because we all care about reducing heart disease, the number one killer of Americans,” said Chairman Petra Levin. “The American Heart Association’s research itself is critical. The funds you give today could help produce lifesaving advances tomorrow.”

Titled “A Heart Affair,” the night began with a cocktail reception. Eight-year-old child violin prodigy and Boca Raton resident, Brianna Kahane, welcomed guests into the seated dinner with her music, and live band Simply Irresistible provided the musical entertainment for the rest of the evening. One of the highlights of the evening was the exciting announcement that the Florence J. and Lawrence A. Charitable Trust and the DeGeorge family has made a $500,000 donation dedicated to pediatric research to advance discovery and innovation for children with heart disease.



For the first time in the Ball’s history, Sotheby’s C. Hugh Hildesley and David Ober conducted a live auction, which raised more than $200,000 for the organization. The auction included an “Open Your Heart” special appeal in which American Heart Association volunteer David Herst of Boca Raton presented a touching story about his two-year-old son, Caden, who has been battling heart complications since birth. Among other bidders, Donald Trump pledged a generous $50,000 during this time. Live auction items included two tickets to the 2010 “Celebrity Apprentice” finale, a stunning diamond necklace from GRAFF, a trip to stay at the Raffles Canouan resort on Canouan Island in the Grenadines, and tickets to the Andrea Bocelli concert at The Mar-a-Lago Club on Feb. 28, which will benefit the American Heart Association’s Palm Beach Division.

“Our generous donors make the American Heart Association’s work achievable,” said Chairman Melania Trump.

 Some of the notable guests at the 2010 Palm Beach Heart Ball included Donald J. Trump and Melania Trump; Stephen A. and Petra Levin; Patrick M. Park and Nathalie Fernandez De LaValle; Henri Barguirdjian; Vogue’s editor-at-large André Leon Talley; Regis and Joy Philbin; Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze Clark; Florence J. DeGeorge; Larry and Suzanne DeGeorge; Michael DeGeorge; Leo and Kathryn Vecellio; American Heart Association Chairman of the National Board Neil Meltzer; Howard and Julie Rudolph; Sue and Robert Tomsich; Craig and Michele Millard; James Finkelstein; Pamela Gross; Michelle and Howard Kessler; Emmanuel Di Donna; Christina Floyd; Darlene and Gerald Jordan; Bridget Koch; Talbott Maxey; Bob and Arlette Gordon; Edward and Margie Allinson; Bruce and Lori Gendelman; John and Andrea Stark; David and Rhoda Chase; Bob Wildrich; Nancy Kloberg; Leslie and Patsy Spero; Alexis and Veronica Mersentes; Donald Scott; Jasmine Horowitz; and Danielle Davidson.

The storied Palm Beach Heart Ball holds a place in the national spotlight as the oldest Heart Ball in the nation, and the longest continuously held charity event in Palm Beach. To date, the Palm Beach Heart Ball has raised more than $18 million for the American Heart Association, making it one of the top single fundraising events nationwide. In 2008, under the chairmanship of Kathryn C. Vecellio, the Palm Beach Heart Ball raised a record-breaking $2.38 million – making it the most successful Heart Ball in the national association’s history. Impressively, the American Heart Association reached another milestone in 2009 – the organization raised more than $3.2 billion in research dollars to date, which has effectively changed the face of medicine globally.


Marianne Lafiteau and André Leon Talley


Katie and Leo Vecellio

Marianne Lafiteau and André Leon Talley


In addition to hundreds of other medical institutions across the country, over the last 10 years, the American Heart Association has
supported the Cleveland Clinic Foundation with $32 million in research dollars; Johns Hopkins University with $44 million; Scripps with $16 million;
and the University of Miami with $26 million to fund their scientists’ life-saving work. Although research is the number one priority, the American Heart Association funds local educational programs to prevent cardiovascular diseases and stroke, including CPR, school programs and educational programs for patients, caretakers and healthcare professionals.

For more information, please contact Samantha Whiteman, Gala Director, American Heart Association, at
 (561) 697-6607. For more information on AHA and their mission, please contact Stacey A. Dowdle at (561) 697-6614.

About the American Heart Association

Founded in 1924, the American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke. These diseases, America’s No. 1 and No. 3 killers, and all other cardiovascular diseases claim nearly 870,000 lives a year. In fiscal year 2007-2008, the association invested nearly $560 million in research, professional and public education, and advocacy and community
service programs to help all Americans live longer, healthier lives. To learn more, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit www.americanheart.org .



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