Many of the ladies who had attended the 2018 Celebrating Women Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole on Thursday, October 25, headed north to Lisa and Kenny Troutt’s estate. The occasion was to introduce The Sweetheart Ball new members, hear about plans for the 37th annual fundraiser and to learn about new developments in UT Southwestern’s cardiology program that has been supported by the group since the fundraiser’s founding in 1981.
As the ladies including Anita Arnold, Lee Ann White, Aileen Pratt, Alinda Wikert, Ola Fojtasek, Christi Urschel, Nelda Cain Pickens, Nancy Dedman, Kelly Green, Lana Andrews, Marilyn Augur, Kimberley Whitman, Sara Martineau, Heather Washburne, Patsy Donosky, Betsy Sowell, Lydia Novakov, Jill Smith, Jeanne Phillips, Joyce Lacerte and Jennifer Clark gathered in the living room, Linda Custard pointed out a painting on the wall. It was a new addition to the home — a portrait of Justify, the Troutts’ Triple Crown winner that had retired this past July. Actually, Justify hasn’t really retired. He’s just transitioned into a career getting to know a line-up of mares.
But back to the painting. Evidently it had been created and sent to the Troutts by one of the family’s former employees. Lisa and Kenny were so impressed that they had it framed and hung overlooking the living room..
Regarding the Troutt household, Lisa reported that Kenny was slowly getting “out and about” following back surgery.
Still another eye-catcher was the collection of albums of past Sweetheart Balls that had been created by Lynne Sheldon over the years.
Taking their places in the living room, 2019 Sweetheart Ball Chair Lisa Troutt officially introduced the new members — Teresa King and Laura Neely as well as Ball Chair-Elect Anita Arnold, Treasurer Linda Custard, Secretary Christi Urschel and new board member Michal Powell, who was in Colorado for her daughter’s wedding. Lisa also revealed that PlainsCapital was returning as the presenting sponsor for the patron party.
She then recognized UT Southwestern Director of Major Giving Caren McGratty for her support in working with the organization that has provided “many, many millions of dollars” over the years.
But the tea was more than learning about the plans for the year ahead. It was also an opportunity to learn from leading experts — Chief of the Cardiology Division Dr. Joe Hill, UT Southwestern VP Dr. John Rutherford and Associate Professor Dr. Jarett Berry — on how the funds had supported their work.
UT Southwestern President Dr. Daniel Podolsky introduced the trio, explaining the fourth member was unable to attend because he was performing a heart transplant. Briefly the team discussed the various advancements that had been made thanks to the women in the room.
Daniel started off by pointing out that while the work done at Southwestern benefits the North Texas area, its effects are felt globally. Not only is it making new discoveries regarding heart health, it is also training new physicians and scientists to go out into the world to save lives.
In providing an overview of Southwestern’s work in cardiology, Daniel added that the new West Campus 3 Building (“It’s not named after somebody named ‘West'”) located on the former St. Paul Medical Center site is where new cardiovascular clinic services are being provided.
Dr. Hill reported that The Sweetheart Ball has a national reputation for its support: “Our program has grown enormously.” He also emphasized the global need for the work done at Southwestern. For instance, there are 1.4 billion people with high blood pressure … the #1 killer of people, and only 14% have their blood pressure under control.
One of the key issues facing Dr. Hill and his team is heart disease in women, who are relatively protected from heart disease until they reach menopause. He pointed out that the number of women who die from breast cancer is one in 40, while the ratio of women dying from heart disease is one in four. “It used to be one in three. We are making progress.”
He concluded by saying that thanks to The Sweetheart Ball, Southwestern is making a global impact and is able “to bring in the best and brightest people from around the nation to join our team.”
Dr. Berry started off by reporting that, over the past 50 years, deaths from heart disease have decreased. However, he and his team have been “working with the community to take the Dallas Heart Study as a study of heart disease itself and begin to think more about how heart vascular disease risk factors influence things beyond the heart, like how we live, how we age. And that includes things related like brain health, functional status.”
As they near the second decade of the Dallas Heart Study, the program’s phase three will broaden its emphasis, resulting in a name change to Dallas Hearts and Minds, allowing for collaborations across UT Southwestern.
New Zealander Dr. Rutherford recalled when he first arrived in Dallas and attended the first tea in 1992: “Having been in Boston, it seemed like a rather unique event.” In reflecting over the past 26 years, he said, “I was given a chance and an opportunity. What the citizens of Dallas have done for the city and the wonderful things that have happened, most recently Klyde Warren Park, the whole energy… you have brought that same energy to our school through your help and contribution in support of cardiovascular disease.”
But the committee members have also been instrumental as individuals in the work done at UT Southwestern. One example that John pointed out was Lydia Novakov, who chairs the patient services committee, which was previously the advisory committee set up in the 2000s. She has “met with the staff frequently and looked carefully at what we do and looked from the patient’s point-of-view at what we do.”
As the four healthcare experts left for the gathering for their work at UT Southwestern, the women continued their fundraising to provide even greater resources for future heart health.