ShareThis Page

Aerial performers set hearts racing at annual Heart Ball

| Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, 6:04 p.m.

In a deliciously ironic twist of fate, the City of Brotherly Love was responsible for making the tickers stop for more than 800 attending the American Heart Association's Heart Ball.

“I hope it's like ‘Wow! This is going to be a really fun evening,' ” said event empress Shelly Tolo as she waited for the crowd to arrive.

Spectacle of the Heart, the vintage circus-themed extravaganza on Feb. 22, blew out conventional avenues of entertainment thanks to the heart-racing aerial performances from the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts. This, naturally, led to expletive-laced admiration from the crowd — followed by impromptu betting as, instantaneously, a chorus of “I could totally do that” could be heard from those on the ground.

As the evening progressed, KDKA's Bob Pompeani and Susan Koeppen did the honors as the emcees, welcoming event chairman Mike Williams to the stage.

“Pardon me, I just had a mental moment. I just realized that every night I go to bed with Bob and Susan,” he mused.

In between courses, Blay Bahnson, Dr.David Bahnson, and Barbara Bahnson accepted the Pulse of Pittsburgh award on behalf of their late father, Dr. Henry Bahnson, while Amy Cashdollar was lauded with the Mary Ann Scully Excellence in Nursing Award.

“I'm so pleased to represent Mary Ann Scully and her dedication to this cause,” Cashdollar said.

Among the swell at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center were Dr.George Magovern Jr. and his wife, Jamie, Dr. William andSusan Follansbee, Dr. Thomas Starzl, Dr.Srinivas Murali, Dr.Peter Ferson, Dr.DonFischer and his wife, the Hon. Nora Fischer, board chairman Rick Shaw, and executive director Sherri Stitt.

Since 1989, the annual ball has raised a whopping $48 million for research funding. This year's soiree was expected to pull in $1.2 million.

Kate Benz is the social columnist for Trib Total Media and can be reached at, 412-380-8515 or via Twitter: @KateBenzTRIB.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.