DES MOINES, Iowa, March 28, 2023 — Eric Wetzel collapsed due to cardiac arrest in August 2022. His wife, Megan, immediately began Hands-Only CPR while their four children waited. Because of Megan’s efforts and a fast response from paramedics, Eric, a healthy, 45-year-old schoolteacher from Waukee, survived.
The Wetzel family shared its powerful story at the annual Greater Des Moines Heart Ball on Feb. 11, 2023 at the Community Choice Convention Center. Through the Heart Ball and the entire Heart of Greater Des Moines campaign, the American Heart Association, a global force for healthier lives for all, has raised more than $450,000 to fight cardiovascular disease.
“Data shows that only about 40% of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest receive the immediate help they need before professional help arrives,” said Ben Vallier, CEO of The Iowa Clinic and chair of the Greater Des Moines Heart Ball. “Raising awareness and funds through the Heart of Greater Des Moines campaign ensures that we can continue to address health inequities, fund lifesaving research and provide critical education and resources to our neighbors throughout Greater Des Moines.”
The Iowa Clinic served as presenting sponsor of the 2023 Greater Des Moines Heart Ball.
During the event, two award honorees were recognized. Craig Hunt, owner of Universal Kutz Barbershop, was named the 2023 Judy Willis Volunteer of the Year. Additionally, Susan Ruehling was announced as the American Heart Association Greater Des Moines 2022-23 Leaders of Impact winner for her work in driving equitable health in the community.
“The 2023 Greater Des Moines Heart Ball showcased the great work of the American Heart Association in the fight against cardiovascular disease,” said Karen Rieck, vice president of human resources at Farm Bureau Financial Services and chair of the American Heart Association Greater Des Moines Board of Directors. “We’d like to thank our sponsors and community members who attended the Heart Ball and everyone who has supported the Heart of Greater Des Moines campaign. It was inspiring to see our community come together to support a common cause: ending heart disease and stroke.”
Organizations and individuals can support longer, healthier lives and donate to the Heart of Greater Des Moines campaign at www.heart.org/DSMHeartBall. The campaign runs through June 30, 2023. This year’s goal is $600,000.
The Heart of Greater Des Moines campaign and the Heart Ball support the Association’s 2024 Health Equity Impact Goal, which aims to reduce barriers to health care access and quality. The American Heart Association is the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health.
- Heart Ball Photos (photo credit to the American Heart Association)
- Eric Wetzel Survivor Video
- Hands-Only CPR (heart.org)
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.