Giving Back

Unlock Your Heart

Clear your social calendar for an evening of big band and support the    American Heart Association in the process. The not-for-profit organization’s   “Unlock Your Heart Ball” is set for Saturday, April 14, at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. Enjoy the sounds of the 19-piece ensemble Swing Set. Move and groove to such classics as “Mack the Knife,” “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and the perennial favorite “In the Mood.” Be prepared to dance!

Organized by a pioneering group of physicians and social workers, the first Association for the Prevention and Relief of Heart Disease was founded in New York City in 1915. As interest spread across the United States and Canada, the organization reinvented itself, adopting its present name and continuing to respond to the ever-present need for awareness and research. As the American Heart Association, the group made its public debut in 1948 and launched a national fundraising campaign in February 1949. Local chapters soon were established.

“Each year this (local) event raises funds to support the association’s work in Okaloosa and Walton counties while helping to increase awareness about heart disease and stroke, our nation’s No. 1 and No. 3 killers,” said Jay Schleuning, communications director for the association. “In 2007, we are seeking to raise more than $300,000 at the gala to fund our critical, life-saving initiatives.”

To reserve your place at the “Unlock Your Heart Ball,” call the local American Heart Association office at (850) 243-0131. To find out more about heart disease and stroke, visit