Cayman Heart Fund recognizes ‘heroes’ at luncheon

Suzy Soto, Chi Chi Foster, Minister Roy McTaggart and Nancy Rohleder show their support for heart health. - Photo: Maggie Jackson

Cayman Heart Fund hosted its second heart health luncheon at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort on Friday.

It was a call for the community to be more heart aware and to lead healthier lives. The luncheon honored all survivors of cardiovascular disease.

More than 200 people came out in their best red attire in support of the event, which recognized “heart heroes” and survivors, who shared their journeys on conquering a serious health problem.

“I believe the survivor is dependent on the love of family and of God,” said Dr. John Addleson, a survivor. “I want each and everyone of you to know that the people who are close to you, whether they be family or friends, should be embraced and endorsed.”

Young Nicholas Isabel told his story of being born with a congenital heart defect and not letting his condition hinder or affect him in any way. He said his parents encouraged him to live an active lifestyle, which led him to participate in the 2018 CARIFTA Games and he was happy to report he had won a goal medal for his achievements.

“Millions of people with congenital heart disease around the world can go on to live long, productive lives,” he said.

He added that people can reduce the risk of heart disease by the choices they make.

The luncheon was chaired by Suzy Soto, founder of Cayman Heart Fund in 2007 after herself receiving a pacemaker.“ I was proud of everyone that participated … my daughter did a wonderful job and a lot of my family was involved. I am grateful all the heart survivors got their awards,” Ms. Soto said.

Barrie Quappe, Ms. Soto’s daughter, said all she asked was for people to take care of themselves.

“Life is not a rehearsal. Celebrate every day. Don’t take it for granted and don’t forget to get out,” she said.

Ms. Quappe spoke of injuring her back after jumping off a 50-foot cliff and surviving and the importance of exercise and nutrition.

The lively social event was full of laughter and uplifting messages. One eye-catching moment was a  muscle-flexing display by 59-year-old body builder and fitness trainer Hugh Cotterell.

Ben Hart, founder of Hart for Hearts, the pediatric arm of Cayman Heart Fund, said funds raised enable parents to take time off work and be with their children while treatment is in progress.

“There will continue to be families who need help, guidance and support and this is what Harts for Hearts and Cayman Heart Fund will continue to do,” Mr. Hart said.