Each year, over 9,600 Long Island residents fall victim to heart disease and stroke. In fact, it is because of this statistic that heart disease is the number one cause of death for the residents of Long Island, and proportionately for Americans nationally. The American Heart Association is a not for profit national health organization dedicated to reducing disability and death from heart diseases and strokes through cardiovascular education and community programs, research and advocacy.
This year, the American Heart Association’s eighteenth annual Heart of the Hamptons ball will take place on Saturday, June 28, 2014. With over 500 expected guests, the Heart of the Hamptons Ball will consist of a VIP reception, a cocktail hour, silent auction, dinner, and dancing. The ball attracts influential leaders involved in community, business, and medicine from New York City and the Hamptons; past Heart of the Hamptons Balls’ guest lists have included notable names such as Christie Brinkley, Starr Jones, and Dr. Max Gomez.
This year’s ball will honor four people. Samuel Stanley, Jr., MD is the honoree for distinguished leadership. For his distinguished service, Leonard Girardi, MD will be honored at the ball, as well. This year, the Heart of the Hamptons Ball has chosen two remarkable people as heart heroes. Arnold Rosenshein is the 2014 Heart of the Hamptons Ball heart hero, and Cristina Civetta is 2014’s junior heart hero.
Since infancy, Cristina has been more than familiar with heart disease and surgery. “I had my first operation when I was eighteen hours old,” said Cristina. “A shunt was placed in my heart, which had gone into total failure. My second surgery came at nineteen months old. My lung and heart chambers were filling with fluid, which required emergency open-heart surgery. Due to teratology of fallout my doctor decided for my third surgery to go in through my side and do repairs, which lasted until I was in my teens.”
As Cristina aged, her doctors noticed that her valve had not been growing, resulting in improper blood flow and the doubling in size of her heart’s right chamber. This dramatic increase in size put pressure on her lungs and liver, in particular. Cristina had two catheterizations and stent implants performed to open up the blood flow. “Until I was 23 years old, I only was taking in 25% of oxygenated blood due to chambers backing up,” commented Cristina. “Under the advisement of my new cardiologist I had a pacemaker placed in my right side. After allowing the pacemaker to settle, it was time to do the 6th and what seems my final open-heart surgery [on October 17, 2013].”
Cristina’s surgery was a complete success. Her valves are replaced and functioning properly and her right chamber has miraculously shrunk to half the size of her left. “I feel completely recovered and stronger than ever,” said Cristina. Now healthy and happy, her mission is to remain in good health and to guide people to a heart healthy lifestyle by educating them about heart disease prevention and risks.
To purchase tickets for the 18th Annual Heart of the Hamptons Ball visit www.hamptonsheartball.heart.org.
For more information on the American Heart Association, visit www.heart.org.