'Get Your Heart Racing' Supports Medical Research


DETROIT— While fast cars, one-of-a-kind auction items and savory food are the lure of Henry Ford Health Systems’ third annual “Get Your Heart Racing” fundraiser, they aren’t the only lure. The real reward is the groundbreaking research, development and life saving techniques that funds raised by the program support.

For example, Lenora Ashford, a former principal of Cass Tech High School, who after suffering a heart attack agreed to participate in a ground breaking study to investigate treating recent heart attack victims with the patient’s own stem cells to preserve heart muscle function.  As an educator who had always encouraged her students to participate in science projects, Ashford decided to do the same.

And she’s glad she did.  “You don’t make progress unless you take chances,” says Ashford.  “Would I do it again? Absolutely.”

“Current standard treatment options for acute heart attack patients only limit the weakening of the heart,” says Gerald Koenig, a cardiologist and researcher at Henry Ford. “We look for a specific stem cell that has the capability to improve the function of the heart either by regenerating tissue or, as in Ashford’s case, by preventing the loss of heart muscle that typically continues for weeks after the heart attack.”

Henry Ford is the first hospital in Michigan to participate in the research study for adults who have received a stent to open a blocked artery after an acute heart attack. Research participants must meet a variety of strict criteria to be considered for the procedure.  Funds raised from the “Get Your Heart Racing” event enable this kind of critical medical research to continue at the Edith and Benson Ford Heart & Vascular Institute.

The 2013 iteration of “Get Your Heart Racing” begins  Sept. 13  with an extravagant “Pit Party” at Eastern Market’s recently renovated Shed III. The evening is complete with fabulous food and drink, music by the popular Mega 80’s and an auction with one-of-a-kind items up for bid.

On Sept. 14, “Get Your Heart Racing” revs up the action with an afternoon at the track – the Ford Dearborn Development Center and Proving Grounds to be exact. Celebrity drivers will pilot guests through a series of high octane driving demonstrations. Or, guests can climb behind the wheel themselves and put the latest Ford products to the test.  Either way, a great experience is guaranteed.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit GetYourHeartRacing.org or call Kim Streich at 734-246-9639.