St. Joseph's Mercy Presents 2012 Heart Ball

February 1, 2012

St. Joseph's Mercy Health Center

St. Joseph’s Mercy Health System will once again serve as presenting sponsor for the American Heart Association’s Hot Springs Heart Ball in the Convention Center’s Horner Hall.

“Heroes for the Heart” is the theme for this year’s Heart Ball, which begins at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4. Mercy Clinic President Dr. Marc Gunter and his wife, Sharon, will serve as hosts for the evening.

The Hot Springs Heart Ball is the area’s premier social event. Attendees at this black-tie optional event enjoy an elegant evening that includes a gourmet dinner, live and silent auctions, and entertainment.It celebrates the American Heart Association’s work and mission; its donors and volunteers and the lives saved and improved. Last year, the Heart Ball campaign raised more than $51 million nationwide, allowing the American Heart Association to fund more than $123 million of research and programs across the country.

“Heart disease knows no boundaries. Regardless of age, ethnicity or gender, heart disease is still one of the leading killers in the United States. That’s why St. Joseph’s Mercy has made it our mission to lead the way in heart health and treatment,” St. Joseph’s Mercy President Tim Johnsen said. “Our commitment to heart health in this community goes all the way back to 1888 when the Sisters of Mercy founded the hospital, and continues through to present day.

“We are also very pleased to work alongside the AHA, an organization dedicated to reducing premature disability and death from heart or cardiovascular disease and stroke.”

Money raised at the annual Hot Springs Heart Ball funds cardiovascular research currently being conducted by 208 researchers in 32 institutions in 19 cities. This includes research projects at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. Over the years, the research has yielded such discoveries as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), bypass surgery, pacemakers, artificial heart valves, microsurgery, numerous life-saving drugs and new surgical techniques to help repair heart defects.

The AHA, the oldest and largest national non-profit voluntary health organization in the world, has also placed over 2,000 automated external defibrillators throughout Arkansas over the last four years, and in 2007 alone facilitated CPR training for approximately 25,000 Arkansans. Moreover, more than 30 million are reached each year by the AHA educational program, which emphasizes quitting tobacco use, controlling blood pressure, eating a low-fat and cholesterol diet and being physically active.

Nearly 2,300 people die of cardiovascular diseases each day – nearly one person every 38 seconds. Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives each year than cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases and accidents combined. On average, every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a stroke.

Vicky Sanders, Executive Director of the Mercy Heart and Vascular Center said St. Joseph’s Mercy is proud of its association with the Heart Ball.

 “We are dedicated to ensuring the patients in our community receive the highest quality of cardiovascular care possible,” Sanders said. “We also understand how important it is to have collaborative relationships with the other healthcare organizations that share that same commitment, so we are very pleased to again serve the AHA as Presenting Sponsor for this year’s Hot Springs Heart Ball.”

St. Joseph’s Mercy is a not-for-profit, faith-based health facility with 27 medical clinics serving the healthcare needs of Hot Springs and its surrounding communities since 1888. It is designated as the southwest region’s only Level II Trauma Center and the region’s most preferred provider of health care services. On April 30, St. Joseph’s Mercy will become Mercy Hospital Hot Springs.

Mercy is the eighth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 31 hospitals, more than 200 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,500 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more about Mercy, visit

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