Healthier and Happier

The Corpus Christi chapter of the American Heart Association preps for the Corpus Christi Heart Ball, Hearts in Havana, which will raise much-needed funds to continue the fight against heart disease and stroke.

By: Erin Wilder

The closing of one year and the beginning of another is always a great opportunity for reflection. How can we make the coming year healthier and happier for both ourselves and our community? Individual New Year’s resolutions often make it all the way to Jan. 3. But when you resolve to get involved with a mission or a cause, you are more likely to make your commitment stick!

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of all Americans, but through research, outreach, education and advocacy, your contribution of time or talent to the American Heart Association (AHA) can make a huge difference in the lives of families across the Coastal Bend.

This time of year, the Corpus Christi chapter of the AHA is making plans for their annual Heart Ball gala event in February. Heart Ball is the AHA’s premiere fundraising event in the region to drive critical ongoing cardiovascular and stroke research. Last year’s event raised nearly $400,000, and this year, we hope to contribute even more to the fight against heart disease.

The annual event attracts more than 500 of the city and state’s community leaders in medicine, business and philanthropy, and celebrates local volunteers and supporters and the many successes they have achieved together in fighting heart disease and stroke.

Hearts in Havana, the Corpus Christi Heart Ball, will be held on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, at the Solomon P. Ortiz Center. The black-tie optional, guayaberas-recommended gala event will include dinner, dancing and a silent and live auction.

Co-chairs Drs. Nelly and Osbert Garcia Blow and Tony and Jennifer LaMantia say attendees will enjoy a swanky, romantic night in Old Havana with the eclectic sounds of modern rumba and Cuban jazz, delectable food, cocktails and entertainment – all while supporting a great mission and honoring local luminaries Lt. Gen. Marc Cisneros & Mrs. Eddy Cisneros and Drs. Shamim Badruddin and Srikanth Damaraju for their heartfelt contributions to the Coastal Bend community.

About the honorees
Lt. Gen. Marc Cisneros and his wife, Eddy Cisneros, will be honored for their many contributions to our city. Both were born and raised in South Texas ranching communities. After 35 years as a decorated Army officer, Marc Cisneros served as president of Texas A&M University-Kingsville for three years and then as CEO of the John G. and Marie Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation for 15 years of service through philanthropy. Eddy, as a cancer survivor, has committed herself to healthy living causes. Marc is also a survivor of two heart bypass operations.

Drs. Srikanth Damaraju and Shamim Badruddin are celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary this year, and the Heart Ball is celebrating their many years of contributions to cardiovascular medicine. Both studied at Baylor College of Medicine institutions in Houston and achieved chief resident status before bringing their talents to Corpus Christi.

Damaraju has practiced in Corpus Christi since 1999, and has been instrumental in advancing cardiovascular interventions in the city, including performing the first carotid stent, abdominal aortic aneurysm exclusion therapy and transcutaneous aortic valve replacement. Badruddin specialized in echocardiography and nuclear cardiology, and has several key publications to her credit. Both have made Corpus Christi a heart-healthier city.

About the Heart Ball
The 2017 Corpus Christi Heart Ball is presented by legacy sponsor CHRISTUS Spohn Heart Institute and sponsored by Citgo, Peggy and Avinash Ahuja, Larry and Karen Urban and Repcon, Inc./Analytical Testing of Texas Inc.

Additional top sponsorship comes from:

• AEP Texas
• Drs. Nelly and Osbert Garcia Blow
• Bonilla and Chapa, P.C.
• Coastal Cardiology PLLC
• Driscoll Physicians Group
• Memorial Anesthesia
• Kleberg Bank
• L&F Distributors Obstetrical and Gynecological Associates of Corpus Christi
• MCCI Medical Group
• Pulmonary Associates of Corpus Christi
• River City Hospice
• San Jacinto Title Services
• South Texas Brain & Spine Center

Support also comes from:

• Alice Heart and Vascular Center
• Ambulatory Adult Neurology, J. Felipe Santos, M.D.
• American Bank
• Bay Area Oral and Facial Surgery
• B.E. Beecroft Co. Inc.
• BMW of Corpus Christi
• Buckley and Associates
• Cardiology Associates of Corpus Christi
• Carlisle Insurance/ Port of Corpus Christi
• Corpus Christi Medical Center
• Corpus Christi Women’s Clinic
• Driscoll Children’s Hospital
• Dugan Eye Institute
• Humpal Physical Therapy
• Rep. and Mrs. Todd Hunter
• The John G. and Marie Stella Kenedy Foundation
• Linebarger, Goggan, Blair and Sampson LLP
• Scott and Thelma Mandel
• Post Acute Medical Specialty Hospital
• Dr. Enrique Cisneros Ramos Jr.
• Joe and Debbie Sevilla
• Star Orthodontics
• Susser Family Foundation
• Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi
• Texas Eye Care Network – Dr. Christopher Majka
• Tom and Diane Gates
• Valero Bill Greehey Refineries

Get involved! Whether you are a supporter, a donor or a volunteer, we welcome any contribution. Individual tickets and sponsorship opportunities are also available. To learn more, go to or call us at 445-3190.

Photos courtesy of American Heart Association

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