Toss for a heartfelt cause
ESa, JE Dunn and MarketStreet Enterprises hosted the sixth annual Gulch Cornhole Tournament on Saturday, August 20th, benefitting the American Heart and American Stroke Association.
What began as our Chairman, Dick Miller’s, personal involvement with the American Heart Association, has grown into a series of activities that are supported by our employees for a variety of reasons. Past events range from Go Wear Red for Women Day, National Walking Day, and a series of fundraisers to support the Nashville Heart Walk, including a Chili Cook-off, Silent Auction and the annual Cornhole Tournament. The annual culmination is the Nashville Heart Walk, where employees bring their families, friends and dogs together to support the AHA.
The missions of AHA directly align with those of ESa and our clients. Principal, Tara Myers, has been involved with the American Heart Association through ESa for the last 18 years, starting out as a team leader in 2004. Myers has served on the Executive Leadership Team for the Heart Walk since 2017 and recently joined a national AHA committee – Leaders for a Resilient Generation, focusing on increased education and initiatives in our schools.
With a personal connection to the AHA, Tara shared her family history with both heart disease and stroke. “My father had a serious heart attack in his early 50’s and thanks to the research and medical advancements driven by the work of the AHA, we were able to have him with us another 30 years. His story and those of other family members have made me much more aware of my own heart health,” shared Tara. “As an architect, I also feel a connection with the work that the AHA is doing to support the overall wellness of communities and equitable access to the qualities of life that support good heart health.”
ESa’s Erin Matchett led this year’s cornhole tournament coordination/planning efforts. Erin is an interior designer at ESa and has a very personal relationship to the AHA organization. “I was born with a congenital heart defect – Tricuspid Atresia with Pulmonary Stenosis, and have required three procedures since birth; including one open heart surgery at the age of two. The AHA has been the lifeblood of research and has helped improved the outcomes for babies like me,” shared Matchett. “In addition, I suffered a TIA (or mini stroke) after the birth of my son. Anything I can do to raise money for an organization that has been so vital to me is something I’m going to do,” she added.
“One in 100 babies are born with a heart defect, I am one of those people; and while that number is high – the number of babies growing into adulthood like me was unlikely as early as 50 years ago,” Matchett explained. “I cannot stress the importance of helping these kids and families with support and research in order to continue improving those outcomes. I’m happy to be not only be a part of the foundational research on adults with a CHD, but also being the one to help raise funds towards these efforts.”
Likewise, the rest of our volunteers participate in coordinating the event for similar reasons. Senior interior design manager/team leader, Alana Morris, shared that her why is the women in her life. “Thirteen years ago, my niece and daughter were born six days apart. I had a normal pregnancy, however my sister, Kelley, did not. After my niece’s delivery, my sister’s blood pressure increased to “stroke” level and she had so much fluid in her body the doctors could not see a visual image of her heart through a CT Scan,” she explained. The cardiologist ran additional tests and Kelley was diagnosed with Peripartum (Postpartum) Cardiomyopathy, a type of heart failure in which the heart is enlarged, becomes weak and cannot pump blood efficiently. At the time, her heart was pumping around the 30% range (normal is 55%-70%). Once she was discharged, she immediately started treatments, a low sodium diet and took multiple medications.
After many trips to the cardiologist for a year, Kelley’s final echocardiogram showed that her heart was normal in size and it was pumping within normal range. That day, she was released from the cardiologist and has maintained normal checkups.
Postpartum Cardiomyopathy is an uncommon form of heart failure. About 1,000 to 1,300 women develop the condition in the U.S. per year. Through donations and fundraisers, the AHA is able to fund ongoing research to help understand the cause and develop new treatments.
This year’s accomplishment
With over 30 sponsors and 64 teams from the architecture/engineering and construction community, the cornhole tournament raised over $20,000 for the AHA.
“We at the AHA are so grateful to ESa for your continued support through the Gulch Cornhole Tournament,” said Caleb Bone, AHA Senior Heart Challenge Director. “As a top supporter of the Greater Nashville Heart Walk, ESa has had a major impact on our campaign over the years, and this year may be the most impactful yet.”
“We believe every person should have an equal opportunity for a long, healthy life, and over the past year, our programs in Middle Tennessee that provide education and resources and remove barriers to health equity reached more than 867,000 people. This would not be possible without ESa and all who support our efforts,” he added.
Thank you for joining us in fighting for a healthier Middle Tennessee!
Special thanks to our Cornhole Tournament sponsors:
Acuity Brands / DL Design Light
IC Thomasson Associates, Inc.
Structural Design Group
Brasfield & Gorrie
Tennessee Lighting Sales
Catalyst Design Group
Robins & Morton
Friends with Heart
Inner Design Studio