With their nomination to the American Heart Association’s royal court, ten formidable women received their tiaras… and a challenge: raise $10,000 before the Heart Ball and the Queen of Hearts coronation in February. Meet the women who may be crowned queen.

The American Heart Association’s biggest fundraiser of the year, the Heart Ball, is spectacular for many reasons. There’s the gourmet dinner, live music, silent auction, striking red dress code and the stunning setting of the recently renovated Louisville Marriott Downtown, of course.

But one moment that truly sets it apart is the crowning of a queen. More than a moment of pure pageantry, this special honor is bestowed upon one of ten nominees who raises the most towards cardiovascular disease research, advocacy and education. With her crown and recognition at the Heart Ball, the Queen of Hearts also receives a custom piece of jewelry from Vincent Peach Fine Jewelry, a profile in TOPS and the knowledge that she’s used her local influence to fight cardiovascular disease and improve awareness in her hometown.

Seven of the women gathered for a photo at the home of Louisville Heart Ball Co-chairs, Valinda and Walter Weibel. (Walter is managing partner of Lexus of Louisville, the presenting sponsor.) They shared a little about themselves and why they’re competing for a cause.

  Nancy Hillebrand Bailey

President/Owner of Bailey Safety, wife of Steve Bailey and mother of Amanda and Hayden

Why: “My oldest great niece, Savannah Bowling, had four heart catheters and open heart surgery at age six. She is now 17 and has a heart of gold.”

Rita Vest

VEST President and CEO, wife of Larry Vest, mother of three, grandmother of twelve

Why: “My grandfather and brother both died of heart disease. Contributing to American Heart Association is my way of supporting a cause I truly believe in.”

Ingrid Hernandez

President and Creative Director of Ingrid Design

Why: “As a child, I remember being scared for my mom’s life every time her blood pressure skyrocketed. Cardiovascular disease is the number two cause of death for Hispanics. Being nominated is an honor, but also a huge responsibility.”

Laura Zachariah

Wife of Jason Zachariah, mother of Hailey, Ean and Lilly

Why: “My children. My father passed away from a heart attack at 49. He was my best friend and losing him changed our family forever. I don’t want my children to live in fear of losing one of their parents.”

Michelle Browning Coughlin

Partner at Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs; Founder/President of MothersEsquire, Inc.; wife of Craig Coughlin and mother of Lane and Sloane

Why: “At the age of 37, I was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect, ‘CHD,’ called Coarctation of the Aorta. All CHD patients need ongoing health care services throughout the span of their lives, many requiring numerous surgeries. Every year since my diagnosis, I have tried to commit to raising awareness and funds for heart health research and education.”

Kristen Warfield

Vice President of Partnerships for Churchill Downs/ The Kentucky Derby; wife of Grey May, mother of Charlie and Clara

Why: “I lost a beloved co-worker, another colleague’s father and a friend’s 38-year-old husband all to heart attacks in the span of one month in the summer of 2018.  My own journey towards better health began after being diagnosed with high blood pressure a year ago.”

Audrey May

Nurse injector at Mizuguchi Plastic Surgery

Why: “My Dad is my ‘why.’  He passed away eight short years ago at the young age of 50 from a very sudden unexpected heart attack.  As a nurse, I was able to care for him in his last days and vowed myself to continue his legacy by helping raise awareness and fund research through the American Heart Association.”

Posted on 2018-11-02 by