A Publication of WTVP

The American Heart Association’s mission is to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, and it relies on volunteers and donors to achieve this mission. At the 2018 Peoria Heart and Stroke Ball in February, the organization recognized businesses and individuals who have made a significant impact on this mission in the Peoria area.

Honored with the Physician Volunteer Award was Dr. Lionel Malebranche of Unity Point Health, a longtime AHA volunteer who speaks at local events and to the media about heart disease prevention. He recently attended the AHA’s Scientific Sessions, a gathering of more than 17,000 clinicians sharing the latest cardiovascular research, and helped spread awareness of new blood pressure guidelines within the local media.

Peoria Disposal Company (PDC) implemented CPR training and purchased AEDs after an employee suffered a cardiac arrest several years ago at one of its locations. Then, in March 2016, employee Glenn Davidson went into cardiac arrest while exercising in the company’s gym. Thanks to the lifesaving work of nearby coworkers who performed CPR and employed an AED, his life was saved. The AHA recognized Kevin Cassulo, Dave Voss, Dan Keyt, Chris Ludolph and Karson Norman as HeartSaver Heroes for increasing his chances of survival.

In addition, PDC was recognized with the Corporate Mission Award for its efforts in workplace readiness and CPR training. “We know firsthand the benefit on investing in AED technology—it saved the life of an employee,” said Chris Coulter, PDC Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “We challenge other companies to follow suit.”

Rendi Ray is the mother of four-year-old Kinley Ray, who was born with a congenital heart defect and had two heart surgeries before her first birthday. Rendi has become an advocate for her daughter’s health and offers much-needed support to other parents in similar situations through her volunteer work. She was recognized with the Volunteer Mission Award.

“It’s important to me to let everyone in the heart community know that they aren’t alone,” said Ray. “I’m only paying forward what I have received from many families… We have to stick together! No one fights alone!” For more information, visit iBi