CHICAGO—The American Heart Association recently honored volunteers at a recognition event at Pinstripes in Oak Brook, IL on October 14. More than 125 volunteers and their families attended the annual event. Sylvia Meléndez Klinger, a member of the American Heart Association Metro Chicago Board of Directors and owner of Hispanic Communications Inc., welcomed the esteemed guests and thanked them for their continued support of the organization.
Ten outstanding volunteers who made significant contributions over the past year to help further the organization’s mission to build healthier lives free of heart disease and stroke received awards. The recipients were:
- Mary D’Anza - My Heart. My Life. Champion Award
D’Anza, a dietitian at Westlake Community Hospital, supported several community initiatives focused on healthy eating and living, including being a member of the Teaching Garden Committee at Emerson Elementary school in Maywood and School District 89’s wellness team.
- Dr. Liz Florez - Multicultural Health Initiatives Champion Award
Dr. Florez, who serves as the American Heart Association liaison to the Illinois Hispanic Nurses Association, motived her colleagues to become more involved in community public health events with a special focus on lowering risk of cardiovascular disease in Latinos. Dr. Florez will be the new 2014 Chair of the Go Red For Women Ambassador Committee.
- Joe Goldzweig - You’re the Cure Advocacy Champion Award
Goldzweig played a central role in working to help enact the recently-signed Illinois Pulse Oximetry law. The new law will require all Illinois hospitals and birthing centers to perform the pulse oximetry test to better help detect congenital heart defects in newborns.
- Joe Mazurkiewicz – Revenue Champion Award
Mazurkiewicz, a Skokie resident and longtime supporter, helped the 2013 Heart Ball break fundraising records resulting in the highest grossing Heart Ball ever. .
- Chris Mistrata – Youth Market Champion Award
Mistrata, a physical educator in the Woodland School District in Gurnee, has worked in the Intermediate, Elementary, and Primary Schools as part of a talented team of PE teachers dedicated to the American Heart Association’s mission and youth programs, particularly Jump Rope for Heart.
- Sakthi Sadayappan and Kyle Henderson – Research Champion Award
Sakthi Sadayappan of Loyola University Medical Center and Kyle Henderson from Midwestern University created the first Metro Chicago Research Network Symposium that garnered more than 165 attendees.
- Barb Stensland - Go Red For Women Champion Award
Stensland, a heart survivor, has been sharing her personal story as part of the Go Red for Women campaign. She continues to educate women everywhere about the impact heart disease has on women and strives to inspire them with the message that heart disease is treatable and beatable.
- Zuri Thompson - Starburst Champion Award.
Thompson, a member of the American Heart Association Multicultural Leadership Committee, created the Pearly Peas healthy cooking and eating program that was instrumental to the success of the Heart 360 – Get to Goal high blood pressure program.
- Herminia Vanna - Multicultural Health Initiatives Champion Award
Vanna, a member of both the Multicultural Leadership Committee and the Go Red for Women Ambassador Committee, is a true believer in the Go Red for Women campaign and has worked tirelessly to help the organization build stronger relationships with Latino partners throughout Chicago.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country.