“Do they really all wear red?” My 21 year old niece, Atara Schein, asked as I was getting dressed for the American Heart Association Pre-Gala Cocktail Party at Jean Shafiroff’s. “I was wearing pink but they made me change into red,” Jean laughed. There may not have been a sea of red at her Park Avenue home, in anticipation of the 21st Hamptons Heart Ball at the Southampton Arts Center on Saturday, June 10, but Event Director Barbara Poliwoda and Dr. Lori Mosca of Columbia University Medical Center, who is being honored with her husband, Dr. Ralph Mosca of NYU Langone Medical Center, were.
The Heart Ball will also honor the Village of Southampton. “They are a heart healthy village,” Shafiroff explained. “CPR is taught in the schools and to both young and old. They are a village that cares about people and heart health.”
The good news? “You’re on your way to preventing heart disease,” Dr. Lori Mosca told the room. Giving of yourself is “a protective factor that people don’t realize. So philanthropy and volunteering actually reduces your risk for heart disease.” Perhaps that’s the secret to Jean’s health and beauty. She gives so much, she wrote the book: Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life by What You Give.
Lori put a face on where the money Jean helps raise goes. A research doctor in preventative heart health, Dr. Mosca said, “I have been supported by the American Heart Association my whole career.” Her grants have gone to studying the special symptoms of heart disease in women. The field was historically dominated by men, and in her early practice, Dr. Mosca heard too many stories of women whose symptoms had been dismissed by male doctors in emergency rooms.
“Over the last 25 years we’ve developed guidelines and educational products for women and for all the men in the room,” she said. “I want you to know that women are the heart keepers in the family and we do this all for you — to keep you guys around.”
She joked the guy in her life is referred to as “the real doctor,” in the family, “because he cuts people up.” And in fact, Ralph has performed close to 6,000 surgeries on babies born with congenital heart defects, which he said are now one percent of all children. 40 percent need at least one surgery. And they all need to be followed up on. Another important thing the AHA has done is make more defibulators available to schools and sports teams. You hear on news about 16 years olds who play basketball and football – and they’re gone. It’s happening more than we realize, and only a defibrillator on site can save them.
A recent study concluded lack of sleep increases the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, Lori told us.
“I really need to get more sleep,” Lucia Hwong Gordon muttered. But first, she had two more events to get to.
For more information about the 21st Hamptons Heart Ball, visit ahaplainview.org.