Teen heart survivor’s mom and treating cardiologist to lead American Heart Association’s 2023 Grand Rapids Heart Ball

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan, April 17, 2023 — As plans are underway for the 2023 Grand Rapids Heart Ball, Mindy Seufert, community advocate, and Dr. Ronald Grifka, chief medical officer at University of Michigan Health-West, have been named co-chairs of this year’s campaign. The annual black-tie gala is a night to honor survivors, patrons and volunteers of the American Heart Association, a global force for healthier lives for all.

“This initiative centers around better health for every individual by focusing on critical issues and work to equitably improve and save lives,” said Jana Siminski, executive director of the American Heart Association, West Michigan.

Mindy’s son, Charlie, was born with congenital heart defects requiring cardiac intervention at 9 weeks old. Charlie went without intervention until he required open-heart surgery in fifth grade. Until recently, Charlie treated his heart conditions with only medication.

Then, in January 2023, he developed severe heart failure due to atrial fibrillation. He needed a heart transplant to survive. Charlie got a new heart in February]. Now, the 16-year-old is adjusting to his new heart and is ready to tell his story in hopes of helping heal other young hearts.

“Charlie’s story is like so many stories that often go unheard, and we’re here to change that to let everyone know that congenital heart defects impact 40,000 children every year, but like with Charlie, with the advancements in research and medicine, you can survive,” Dr. Grifka said.

The 2023 Grand Rapids Heart Ball will be held Thursday, May 4 at the Goei Center in Grand Rapids. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and will feature a VIP reception, cocktail hour, full dinner program and a live auction. The Heart Ball will also feature the annual Richard M. DeVos Awards ceremony, which honors two individuals who have proven their dedication to the American Heart Association’s mission to be a relentless force for longer, healthier lives.

“I am honored to join Dr. Grifka as co-chair of the 2023 Grand Rapids Heart Ball,” said Mindy Seufert. “I am eager to work together with our outstanding team of volunteers and the American Heart Association as we all advocate to make a difference in the well-being of people in this community for so many young hearts like Charlie’s. Together, we must continue to strive to do whatever we can to make a lasting impact.”

The 2023 Grand Rapids Heart Ball is presented by The Cardiovascular Network of West Michigan – a partnership between University of Michigan Health-West and Trinity Health.

For more information on how to support or attend the Grand Rapids Heart Ball, visit our website at heart.org/grandrapidsheartball or contact Winni Walsh at 248-688-0186.

The American Heart Association’s Heart Ball raises funds to support the American Heart Association’s mission to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives while supporting priority issues Grand Rapids identified by the American Heart Association West Michigan Board of Directors to propel work to support the Association’s 2024 Health Equity Impact Goal by reducing barriers to health care access and quality.


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.  

For Media Inquiries:
Matt Johnson, Communications Director, Matt.johnson@heart.org 
For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)
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