GREENSBORO, NC, April 4, 2023 — The American Heart Association, a global force for healthier lives for all, announces that stroke and prevention will be the focus of the 2023 Triad Heart Ball on Friday, April 21 at the Legacy Stables and Events in Winston-Salem.  This year’s event will feature a traveling F.A.S.T. display showcasing the most common stroke warning signs.

Anita Prendergast, CEO of the Novant Health Rehabilitation Hospital, an affiliate of Encompass Health, will lead the event and stroke activation as the new 2023 Triad Heart Ball chairperson.

This year’s event, supported by Life is Why Sponsor, Novant Health, and Platform Sponsor, Novant Health Rehabilitation Hospital celebrates the community's collective success in driving change, funding science, and improving health. It includes a mobile auction, live auction, engaging program, gourmet dinner and live entertainment by acoustic guitarist Kevin Beck and Hot Sauce.

“Like many individuals across the country, I have personally experienced how cardiovascular disease, including stroke, can impact a family,” said Anita Prendergast, 2023 Triad Heart Ball chair and retired CEO of Novant Health Rehabilitation Hospital, an affiliate of Encompass Health. “In addition, our team at Encompass Health sees the devastating effects of stroke every day in our community through the services we provide at our rehabilitation hospital. I’m encouraging all families to learn the most common signs of stroke by knowing the acronym, F.A.S.T.  Recognizing the stroke warning signs is critical to identifying a stroke quickly, which could lead to the best possible treatment options and outcomes for patients. I am honored to help lead this effort in the Triad.”

To increase awareness of the warning signs of stroke, large F.A.S.T. letters are part of a traveling display throughout Triad businesses and organizations this year. F.A.S.T is an acronym to help people to easily remember the most common stroke warning signs and what to do in a stroke emergency.

  • “F” stands for face drooping.
  • “A” stands for arm weakness.
  • “S” stands for speech difficulty.
  • “T” stands for time to call 9-1-1.

If a person suddenly shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, 9-1-1 should be called immediately. According to the American Heart Association, every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a stroke. The faster stroke is treated, the more likely the patient is to recover.

The good news is that heart disease and stroke can be largely preventable with education and lifestyle changes, such as knowing your vital health numbers, moving more, eating smarter and managing your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.

For more information on the risk factors for heart disease and stroke, visit For tickets to the Heart Ball, visit For questions, contact


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, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.   

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