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“Hearts of Gold” to Celebrate National Honorees

By Barry Hackshaw, MD

Three local superstars, each honored with the highest awards bestowed by the national office of the American Heart Association, will be celebrated at this year’s Heart Ball appropriately entitled “Hearts of Gold.”

The 26th annual event takes place Saturday, April 12 at the Miramonte Resort & Spa in Indian Wells. In addition to dinner and dancing, the evening’s festivities will include recognition of Gold Heart award recipients Charlie Shaeffer, MD, and Hank Wasiak, as well as Healthcare Volunteer of the Year, Mary Caldwell. “It is unusual for a small division such as ours to have three nationally recognized award winners,” remarked Keith Goff, chair of the AHA’s Coachella Division.

Charlie Shaeffer, MD, was the 2010 Gold Heart award recipient. This award is conferred on individuals who have rendered the most distinguished service in advancing the objectives of the AHA nationally. Dr. Shaeffer has spent almost 40 years as a volunteer and was instrumental in the establishment of the AHA’s Coachella Valley Division over 35 years ago. He has served on numerous committees at the local, regional and national levels, and played a central role in California’s tobacco tax initiatives, some of which have become models for tax initiatives in other states. Those advocacy efforts earned him the AHA’s Volunteer-Associate award in 2006. He holds a leadership position with the AHA Council on Epidemiology and Prevention and is currently the president of the local division. Dr. Shaeffer has a long and distinguished career as a valley cardiologist at Desert Cardiology and Eisenhower Medical Center. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for Eisenhower Medical Center.

Hank Wasiak was presented the prestigious Gold Heart award last June in Dallas. A volunteer for the AHA for over a decade, Wasiak has been a driving force in the AHA’s efforts to raise stroke awareness. He has been the chair of the American Stroke Association Advisory Committee since 2010 and provided key insights for media initiatives including the well-recognized F.A.S.T. /Ad Council campaign. Under his leadership, the AHA greatly enhanced its digital and social media outreach, including a new Facebook community and a mobile app for stroke warning sign recognition. Wasiak is currently a member of the AHA national Board of Directors and sits on a number of national AHA committees. He has had a distinguished career in communications as the retired vice chairman of McCann Erickson WorldGroup and is currently a partner at the Concept Farm, a New York City-based communications agency.

Mary Caldwell, RN, PhD, was also recognized last June in Dallas with the Healthcare Volunteer of the Year award for her 38 years of service in both scientific and volunteer roles. Her award recognizes outstanding contributions to, or achievements in, cardiovascular disease and stroke patient care. Dr. Caldwell has served leadership roles in the Council of Cardiovascular Nursing of the AHA as well as board chair of AHA’s western states affiliate and member of the national Board of Directors. As a founding member of the AHA’s Accelerator Committee, she applied her venture capital skills to help build this new program which is accelerating bench science to the clinical arena. Dr. Caldwell has held positions as a cardiovascular critical care nurse, medical device marketing manager, healthcare strategist, venture capitalist and scientist studying symptoms of heart disease.

We are pleased to honor these distinguished national awardees and hope that you will take the opportunity to meet them personally at “Hearts of Gold” on April 12.

For tickets and information on the 26th annual Heart Ball, visit (760) 346.8109 or email 

One Response to ““Hearts of Gold” to Celebrate National Honorees”

  1. Roger Perry says:

    RSVP to your kind invitation….We’d love to be there!

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