David Bender is the President of Blake Real Estate. He is also the Chair of the 2010 Greater Washington Region Heart Ball. This is the 12th year of the DC Heart Ball and we had the opportunity to talk to Bender about why this cause is so important. He shared with us some of the highlights of this upcoming ball, which is just around the corner on Saturday, February 27th, 2010.
ExecutiveBiz: Tell us a little about what prompted you and the Bender Foundation, Inc./ The Bender Family to chair the American Heart Association Ball.
Bender: There are so many reasons to support the American Heart Association. We have been involved with the American Heart Association for more than 25 years and believe passionately in their mission of building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. When you consider that heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the nation, with stroke not far behind at No. 3, the AHA mission takes on a significance that is at once personal and universal. These diseases affect everyone – men, women and children.
With a family history of heart disease, our involvement is deeply personal.
ExecutiveBiz: Why is this cause so important?
Bender: The fact is that heart disease kills more people annually than the next five causes of death combined – and this is a shocking statistic to many. The key is to raise awareness that while 1 in 30 women will die of breast cancer, almost one in three will die from a cardiovascular disease. We need to help our community to understand the importance of prevention and living a healthy lifestyle.
Another significant benefit that supports this community is when the American Heart Association funds research, it brings jobs here. When research is funded, more people are employed and incredible advances in science are made. Some examples of breakthroughs brought about by research funded by American Heart Association include: Artificial Valves, CPR, Clot-Busting Drugs, Pacemakers, Angioplasty, Bypass Surgery, Medicines to Control High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol. It has also led to important discoveries like the link between smoking and heart disease and to food labeling guidelines.
The funds also go towards local community outreach efforts to educate the public about heart disease, stroke and the effects of childhood obesity. For example, the American Heart Association works with many local organizations to provide fitness programs for children of communities in need. The District has some of the worst levels of childhood obesity, so funds from the Heart Ball have been directed to address this specific local issue.
ExecutiveBiz: Tell us what other area executives can do to help.
Bender: Because we believe so fully in the mission of the American Heart Association, our family donated $1 million to the cause and are asking the community to match our donation. Our goal is to raise $2 million for the Greater Washington Region American Heart Association through the Heart Ball. Without the money raised by this event, life saving research will go unfunded and lives will be lost.
On behalf of the American Heart Association, I am calling on my fellow business and community leaders and everyone out there to support the Heart Ball by partnering with us and by attending the event. The Heart Ball provides many wonderful opportunities for businesses to positively impact the lives of many in our community as well as their own employees.
Three generations of Benders will proudly lead the 2010 Heart Ball and we invite the entire Greater Washington region to carry the torch with us. Funds raised by the Heart Ball go towards lifesaving cardiovascular research as well as community outreach and education programs
ExecutiveBiz: Please share some of the highlights of the upcoming ball.
Bender: The DC Heart Ball is now in its 12th year. It is on February 27 – at the end of American Heart Month. This year’s event is lead by my family, the Howard and Sondra Bender Family. Three generations of the Bender family are serving as this year’s Chairs.
The Heart Ball is an elegant, black-tie celebration of life bringing together more than 500 of Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia’s most prominent corporate, philanthropists, health care and community leaders for an inspirational evening of dinner, dancing, live entertainment and live and silent auctions. We honor survivors of heart disease and stroke and hear their stories first hand. Heart disease and strokes do not discriminate. Children, teenagers, men and women will share their inspirational stories of survival and recovery. We will also be honoring members of the Military – specifically Military doctors who have helped to save the lives of our men and women serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.
There is wonderful food, dancing, phenomenal live and silent auctions with wonderful items to bid on. We have trips to St. Thomas, France, Hawaii, Dinner for 10 in your home prepared by Chef Eric Zeibold of City Zen, a beautiful, exclusively designed Trail of the Painted Ponies sculpture, and so much more. There is something for everyone, a grand evening in honor of the men and women who serve in our armed forces, survivors, doctors and supporters of the American Heart Association.
The Heart Ball truly is the premier social event that salutes of American Heart Association’s impact on our community. The Ball will be held at the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, VA. More information can be found on the website www.dcheartball.com
ExecutiveBiz: As chair, what would you like to see happen in order for you to consider the event a success?
Bender: The success of this event is urgent. As we’ve mentioned before, we have many lives being lost to heart disease and stroke. It is incumbent upon us as leaders in this community to really help the people right here in the Greater Washington Region live longer, stronger lives free from heart disease and stroke. This event will be a success when at the end of the day, life-saving research and discoveries are not turned away due to lack of available funding and more people affected by heart disease and stroke survive to live another day with their friends and families.