The Cayman Heart Fund raised more than $23,800 at its Heart Heroes Awards Brunch at Ristorante Pappagallo in West Bay on Sunday.
The event was a themed costume affair of music through the ages, with attendees encouraged to dress as their favourite bands or singers to honour the Heart Heroes Awards recipients.
Dr. Bella Beraha, Cayman Heart Fund chairperson, said it is extremely important to honour the Heart Heroes as it raises awareness and shows that cardiovascular disease can affect anyone, no matter their age, race, or gender.
“We need to raise awareness, and know that [cardiovascular disease] can affect anyone. We can advocate this in communities like Cayman,” Beraha said.
She said that the event was a fundraising opportunity, to help the organisation provide for families dealing with cardiovascular disease.
“Even though we are here to celebrate the Heart Heroes, we are also using that opportunity to fundraise through the sales of the tickets, as well as the raffle tickets, so we can then use that money to fund our missions, our screenings, and help families in need,” she said.
Suzy Soto, who founded the Cayman Heart Fund in 2007 and was one of the 2020 Heart Heroes Awards recipients, said she wanted to honour all of the recipients.
“It’s very important to honour them and tell their stories so other people get encouragement to eat well and have healthy lifestyles,” Soto said at the event.
Governor Martyn Roper said he was inspired by the stories of the Heart Heroes.
“I’m really pleased to be here today,” he said, adding, “We’ve heard of incredibly brave people who have gone through an awful lot.”
Nolan Rory Evans, who passed away in 2018 at seven months old after battling a complex congenital heart disease, was awarded a special Heart Angel Award. His parents Sean and Ailian Evans, along with their daughter Ashlyn, accepted the award on his behalf.
“I’ve spent a lot of time in the recent months with the Evans family and I think they are incredibly brave to be able to turn their own personal tragedy into doing good in the community and raising awareness in the Cayman community of congenital heart defects. I found that really inspiring,” the governor said.
Organisers said $22,000 was raised in ticket sales at the sold-out brunch, and the sale of raffle tickets raised more than $1,800.
Natalie Bu Eden and Gaga Varlon Rivers-McLean received Children Heart Hero Awards, and Suzy Soto, Maggie Pershick, Sir John Bank Jenkinson, Adam Lawson and Ludlow Buckridge received Adult Heart Hero Awards.
The Cayman Heart Fund will host its 13th annual international symposium on 19 March.