Miami-Dade community showed up and stepped out to save lives at the annual Heart Walk

MIAMI, December 18, 2023 — The American Heart Association, Greater Miami/Fort Lauderdale market raised over $540,000 to save and improve lives across the community during its 2023 Miami-Dade Heart Walk on December 2. Thousands of people came together to support lifesaving cardiovascular research, advocacy efforts and community impact initiatives.

Highlights of the day included a live warmup by Dr. Shaun Smithson, Interventional Cardiologist with HCA Florida and Miami International Cardiology, an emotional Heart Hero tribute to honor a local survivor who was operated on by heart walk co-chair Dr. Redmond P. Burke with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, and the National Anthem was sung by Grace Chaffins. The event was hosted by Ethan Calloway, News Anchor at WSVN and Jorge Hernandez, News Anchor at Univision.

The Heart Walk was chaired by Perry Ann Reed, COO and SVP, Nicklaus Children's Health System & President, Nicklaus Children's Hospital, and Dr. Redmond P. Burke, Director of Cardiovascular Surgery at Nicklaus Children's Hospital. Reed and Burke brought together 13 local leaders who served on the Executive Leadership Cabinet at this year’s Walk:           

  • Alexander Almazan - founder / president, Almazan Law
  • Willy Bermello - chairman of the board - principal in charge, Bermello Ajamil & Partners
  • Helenemarie Blake - global privacy officer/ VP of compliance, Global Medical Response
  • Wayne Brackin - president/CEO, KIDZ Medical Services
  • Commissioner Ivan Chavez, Jr., - city commissioner, City of West Miami
  • Former Commissioner Sabina Covo - former city of Miami commissioner, City of Miami (District 2)
  • David Donaldson - CEO of Mercy Hospital, HCA Florida Healthcare
  • Frank Fernandez - president, Blueprints 4 Safety
  • Dr. Francesco Iacona – CEO, Schiller Americas, Inc.
  • Steve C. Juhasz – executive chairman, XS MATRIX GLOBAL CO
  • Ryan LeMasters - COO of Mercy Hospital, HCA Florida Healthcare
  • Eugene Marini, chief accounting officer, Victoria Nursing & Rehabilitation Center
  • Dr. Orlando Rodriguez - medical director, UniVida Medical Center

“The Miami-Dade Heart Walk is personal,” said Perry Ann Reed, COO and SVP, Nicklaus Children's Health System & President, Nicklaus Children's Hospital. “Everyone has a reason to live a longer healthier life or a reason why they’re motivated to save the life of another. I walked as I have a recently diagnosed heart condition that requires open heart surgery. We walked to save lives, that’s what it’s all about.”

"I walked for all my patient’s families, who fight so hard for their babies with congenital heart disease," said Dr. Redmond P. Burke, Director of Cardiovascular Surgery at Nicklaus Children's Hospital. "It makes me feel great when I see the kids that I’ve operated on come back and have kids of their own. That’s a real blessing and that’s why we do what we do.”

This year over 50 companies, 138 teams and over 1,500 walkers came together at Regatta Park in Coconut Grove.

“The Heart Walk is about getting people moving, celebrating our heart heroes and survivors and caring for all of the hearts in our community,” said Marisol Garcia, Executive Director of the American Heart Association's Greater-Miami and Fort Lauderdale market. “Thank you to our walkers, sponsors and supporters for committing to a heart healthier tomorrow and helping to make this year’s Miami-Dade Heart Walk so successful.”

The event was made possible with the support of our local Greater Miami / Fort Lauderdale sponsors: Orange Theory Fitness, Schiller Americas, Ryder Systems, Inc., Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Florida Power & Light, CITY Furniture, New Edge Associates, LaCroix, Almazan Law, HCA Florida Healthcare, ADP, Mount Sinai Medical Center, Victoria Nursing & Rehabilitation, AvMed, KIDZ Medical Services, One Beat Medical and Training.

Donations in support of the Miami-Dade Heart Walk can still be made at


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

For Media Inquiries:

Christina Vitale:

Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721) and

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