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National Marfan Foundation 11th Annual Benefit HeARTworks

Originally Posted: April 15, 2011

The National Marfan Foundation held its 11th annual benefit, at Cipriani 42nd Street. (Ann Watt)

New York City - The National Marfan Foundation held its 11th annual benefit, Heartworks: The Marfan Gala, on Thursday, April 7, at Cipriani 42nd Street. At the gala, the NMF honored Jeffrey LeSage, U.S. National Managing Partner, KPMG, and St. Jude Medical with 2011 Hero with a Heart Awards.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is honorary chair of Heartworks for the 10th consecutive year, provided the opening remarks. The corporate host of Heartworks is Karen Murray, President, VF Sportswear.

The evening featured entertainment by Broadway performer Megan Hilty ("Wicked," "9 to 5"). Hilty recently garnered the lead role in Steven Spielberg's new NBC pilot "Smash," which will be produced by Dreamworks and UMS.

WNBC-TV's Jane Hanson served as master of ceremonies and was co-hosted by her WNBC-TV colleague, Janice Huff.

Dinner chairs were Benjamin Carpenter; Hal C. Dietz, III, MD, Johns Hopkins Hospital; Randy and Susan Falco; Leonard Girardi, MD, New York Presbyterian Hospital; Alix McLean Jennings and Ezra Jennings; Tony Award-winning actor and choreographer Ann Reinking; Mary J. Roman, MD, New York Presbyterian Hospital and Michael L. Weamer, CAE, American Heart Association.

Heartworks raised almost $1 million and has raised more than $7 million for the NMF to date. The proceeds from the event are earmarked for Marfan syndrome research, support for individuals and families affected by the disorder, and public awareness and education.

"The NMF has a life-saving mission and, because of the generosity of our friends and supporters in New York City we can continue our programs that enhance the quality of life and extend the lifespan of people with Marfan syndrome and related disorders," said Murray, who serves on the Board of Directors of the NMF. "We are grateful to Mayor Bloomberg, along with our many sponsors, for making Heartworks a successful fundraiser year after year."

Hero With A Heart Award Recipients

Jeff LeSage, is a leader in the business world and a leader in the fight against heart disease. He has been involved in the American Heart Association for several years years and now serves as chairman of the board of the AHA's New York City Chapter. His dedication to fighting heart disease extends to the National Marfan Foundation and its efforts to enhance the lives of those in the Marfan syndrome and related disorders community.

A supporter of the NMF's Heartworks gala, Jeff embodies the generosity of spirit of his company, KPMG, which has become an important partner to the NMF in its life saving programs and services.

St. Jude Medical, which has an extensive product portfolio that includes mechanical heart valves that are a mainstay of treatment for people with Marfan syndrome, is playing a critical role in advancing the surgical field as it relates to Marfan syndrome.

In 2004, the NMF initiated a research study entitled Aortic Valve Operative Outcomes in Marfan Patients to examine the outcomes associated with two types of aortic valve operations for people with Marfan syndrome. The goal of this multi-center study it to obtain vital data that will enable physicians and patients faced with a difficult choice to determine the appropriate course of surgical treatment.

St. Jude Medical has been at the forefront of support for this research, taking the lead in providing funding to enable researchers to gather and analyze data over the course of several years. The investment that St. Jude Medical is making in this research will reap benefits for people with Marfan syndrome and related disorders today and in generations to come.

"We are thrilled to pay tribute to KPMG's Jeff LeSage and St. Jude Medical at this year's Heartworks gala," said Carolyn Levering, NMF President and CEO. "Our corporate partners are so valuable to us as we continue to fight against Marfan syndrome and work to make life better for all those who are affected."


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