The Halle Heart Children’s Museum in Tempe, Arizona was a sea of red dresses and sparkly shoes last Wednesday night as a group of ladies (and a few gentlemen, not in red dresses and sparkly shoes) came together for a cocktail party fundraiser for the Go Red! for Women program affiliated with the American Heart Association.
We all knew going there that heart disease is a serious issue. Who doesn’t know someone who has either had a heart attack or stroke? We also knew that the American Heart Association takes on the hard work of educating the public about heart disease and helps to fund research into the causes of heart-related diseases. In fact, as my friends and I were on our way to the event by way of pre-event manicures, a woman who looked to be in her 60s noticed our red dresses and told us her life had been saved by the American Heart Association, thanks to a surgery she received when she was a child. She thanked us for participating in the ongoing work of the organization and gave me goosebumps in the process of telling her story.
Maria Benson and the Go Red! Ambassadors somehow managed to balance those serious truths with some light-hearted fun. We were surrounded by the colorful and informative Halle Heart Children’s Museum, where we could push buttons to light up the giant heart at the center of the museum, or listen to how the brain is impacted by the health of the heart. We could even compare the sizes of hearts in other mammals, such as dogs, cats, and elephants! The museum itself is already a colorful, vibrant setting in which to have a party, but Maria and her team turned the Children’s Museum into a rocking fashion show and cocktail party that got the Go Red! message across with great fun and lots of laughs.
Those who went were treated to a fabulous spread of food and wine sponsored by Whole Foods, Urban Tea Loft, Citizen Public House, and Paletas Betty. Several tables were lined with valuable treasures, such as home decorating baskets, gift certificates, theater tickets, and spa baubles, all of which were raffled at the end of the evening to great success. Between the raffle and the donations, they raised almost $4000. E&J’s Designer Shoe Outlet in Scottsdale sponsored a fabulous fashion show, complete with shoes from the Spring lines of Coach, Cole Haan, and Anne Klein, and we each got a coupon for even larger discounts from the shoe outlet.
No one went home empty-handed, even those of us who didn’t win in the raffle. We each got a goodie bag filled with coupons and travel packs, but my favorite take-home treasure was my very own Go Red! for Women lapel pin. Now I feel official.
The fundraiser brought in a good amount of cash for the American Heart Association, but perhaps more importantly, it made countless supporters in the process. I know I, for one, will be back next year, sporting my red dress and red dress lapel pin. Congratulations to Maria and the ladies on the Go Red! Ambassadors team for a successful event!