My wife Julie and I have agreed to chair this year’s annual American Heart Association’s Heart Ball. Although my family has been affected by heart disease, this chairperson’s role for us is not about our own passion but it is about three people who entered our life earlier this year. Recently, we were approached by Lauri Pierce who learned of our role in the Heart Ball and simply asked to buy a ticket and join us at the Heart Ball this year and “dance”. While an interesting request Julie and I pressed to learn more. Lauri’s response was, “I want to dance with the young man who has my daughter’s heart and feel it beat”. “While I won’t get to hold Amanda on this side of heaven, “I’m incredibly thankful to dance with Garrett at the Heart Ball.” While Laurie and Garrett dance arm in arm, Laurie will also be sharing the dance with her daughter’s heart, and spirit. To our knowledge this will be an historical event and to our knowledge the first in history. Her story was a highly emotional moment for Julie and me. A rare event, indeed, but an impactful one that has ignited a passion in me to ensure there are more opportunities like this in our lifetimes. During the ball we will be telling the story of Garrett, whose journey began at birth when he was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and received his first heart transplant at just 6 months of age. For 15 years, Garrett was able to live a normal life, but in 2013 complications arose and his body began to reject his heart. A bit of context on how the two families were brought together in tragedy and the beauty of life. In 2013, Garrett Leopold was in the hospital, counting on a second heart transplant in order to survive. That same weekend, a Plant high school senior, Amanda Pierce, tragically passed away in a car accident while on the way to visit her sister in Tallahassee. It was Amanda’s heart that gave Garrett a new lease on life. Please join me in saving the date for the 2017 Heart Ball on Saturday, April 29 at 6:00 p.m. I am in hopes you will also take the opportunity to make a sponsorship contribution. In learning more about heart transplants, we discovered that the cost of a heart transplant is north of $1.7million. As chairpersons of the Heart Ball, Julie and I have set our goal at raising $2 million and we are getting close to that goal. On behalf of Laurie, Julie and I I’d like to personally ask for your help in closing the gap. Please join me in saving the date for the 2017 Heart Ball on Saturday, April 29 at 6:00 p.m. We look forward to celebrating Garrett’s life and honoring Amanda’s memory during this time and hope you will consider being a part of this meaningful celebration of life by making a gift on-line as I have set up a web site for personal donations and corporate donations.