Merriam Webster defines driven as very determined to succeed. That in a nutshell definitively describes the 2018 Phoenix Heart Ball Chairperson, Carolyn Jackson and hence why she is so passionate about making “Driven Hearts” this year’s Heart Ball theme. “When I searched for an adjective that would describe every member of our committee and the philanthropic community, the word driven immediately came to mind,” said Carolyn. “There is no one on the Heart Ball committee who is accepting of mediocrity.”
For 59 years, the Heart Ball’s mission has always been to win the fight against heart disease and stroke. As a result, they have raised more than 35 million dollars supporting cutting edge research, lifesaving education and prevention programs for improved health. In fact, back in 1959, the year of the first Heart Ball, research for pacemakers, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and bypass surgery was only just getting under way. Today with the help of funds raised by the Heart Ball, we now have the Halle Heart Children’s Museum in Tempe, the only hands-on museum of its kind that helps educate Arizona kids on heart disease prevention and how to make healthy lifestyle choices. We also have defibrillators in schools and ongoing programs that teach adults how to recognize the signs of a heart attack and stroke.
“I’ve lost far too many family members to heart attack and stroke, both in my actual family and my extended Barrett-Jackson family,” said Carolyn. “Through serving on the committee, I obtained great knowledge that I shared with my father and his doctors which helped us determine that he had Atrial Fibrillation.”
Thanks to her marketing background, she knew the engine that could help slam the breaks on heart disease was the world famous Barrett Jackson car collector’s auction, started more than 45 years ago by her husband Craig’s father and his friend and business partner. Carolyn has been using the Barrett Jackson platform to spread awareness about heart disease, and people from all over the country are coming to support the cause.
One of her favorite stories she shared with me was of Charmaigne and Darrell Pullen. They were watching the Scottsdale Barrett Jackson Auction on television from their home in Kentucky and saw a special Corvette being auctioned in honor of a man who died of a heart attack. The proceeds from the auction were being donated to the American Heart Association. Turns out, Darrell not only owned an identical car but he had lost both his parents to heart related issues and his brother had suffered four strokes.
“Within just days of our Scottsdale auction, Darrell and his wife Charmaigne flew to Scottsdale from Kentucky, walked into the Barrett-Jackson headquarters, and handed us the title of their Corvette asking us to auction their car for the American Heart Association,” Carolyn said. “It was a completely unexpected and unbelievably generous gesture that had us all in tears.”
There have been many tears shed as more and more people touched by this disease are finding ways not only to connect with each other but by finding unique and out of the box ways to contribute. You could say that everyone is in some way driven. Driven to educate, driven to give back, and driven to cross the ultimate finish line, a cure for our broken hearts.
— Robin Sewell is the host and
executive producer of the Emmy Award
winning Arizona Highways Television.