3rd Annual Ava's Heart Heroes Ball

 Left to Right: Jeanne Hwang, Don Webber (COO, Syncardia), Janelle Drumwright (Marketing Director, Syncardia), myself, Joseph Tseng (Sr. Sales Manager, Syncardia), Matt Dufner (Clinical Technician, Syncardia), Lance E. White (Past TAH Patient)

Left to Right: Jeanne Hwang, Don Webber (COO, Syncardia), Janelle Drumwright (Marketing Director, Syncardia), myself, Joseph Tseng (Sr. Sales Manager, Syncardia), Matt Dufner (Clinical Technician, Syncardia), Lance E. White (Past TAH Patient)

This past week, my sister Jeanne and I were invited by Syncardia’s CEO to attend the 3rd Annual Ava’s Heart Heroes Ball at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood, CA. We had the opportunity to reunite with our Total Artificial Heart family including Johnny Lemucci, his wife Caroline and Lance E. White. This event raises funds to provide resources, refuge and case management support services to both transplant patients and donor families, who would otherwise likely not be able to access the needed treatment and care.

 Larry King interviews Dr. Francisco A. Arabia accompanied by Ava Kaufman

Larry King interviews Dr. Francisco A. Arabia accompanied by Ava Kaufman

The legendary Larry King was the Master of Ceremonies who interviewed and honored this year’s Heroes Awards including our father’s very own surgeon, Dr. Francisco A. Arabia and Dr. Ronald W. Busuttil of UCLA. We also got to hear from ABC7 Los Angeles’ Phillip Dean Palmer and his heroic story as a living kidney donor.

Reuniting with our Total Artificial Heart family and meeting the staff of Syncardia which is based in Tucson, AZ was a heartfelt opportunity to reminisce, catch up and talk about how to support future families facing this journey. ______________________________

Side note: I would also like to share in 2006, I was a reporter for Us Weekly magazine and got assigned to attend Larry King’s Cardiac Foundation event on November 21st. I briefly interviewed Mr. King and have shared the transcription at the end of this post. Over a decade later, seeing him honor the surgeon who helped my dad with a second chance at life comes full circle. Larry was thrilled to hear the follow up story.

Kathy Arabia R.N., Larry King, Dr. Francisco Arabia
 The Syncardia Table seated Left to Right: Johnny Lemucchi (TAH patient), Caroline Lemucchi, Jeanne Hwang, Joseph Tsang (Sr. Sales Manager, Syncardia), Matt Dufner (Clinical Technician, Syncardia), Janelle Drumwright (Marketing Director, Syncardia), myself, Ann Marie Webber, Don Webber (COO, Syncardia), Lance E. White (TAH patient)

The Syncardia Table seated Left to Right: Johnny Lemucchi (TAH patient), Caroline Lemucchi, Jeanne Hwang, Joseph Tsang (Sr. Sales Manager, Syncardia), Matt Dufner (Clinical Technician, Syncardia), Janelle Drumwright (Marketing Director, Syncardia), myself, Ann Marie Webber, Don Webber (COO, Syncardia), Lance E. White (TAH patient)

REPORT: An Evening with LarryKing and Friends
Tuesday, November 21, 2006

"The Larry King Cardiac Foundation brings its mission of "Save a Heart a Day" to Los Angeles with a fundraising gala hosted by Larry King and his wife, Shawn Southwick-King.  Held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel,  "An Evening with LarryKing and Friends" honors Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, actress Eva Longoria, philanthropists Alfred and Claude Mann, and cardiologist Enrique Ostrzega, M.D.  The event features entertainment by Il Divo, the internationally acclaimed band known for taking opera mainstream, and Ozomatli, a Latin, hip-hop, and rock group.  A one-of-a-kind live auction as well as a silent auction will also be included."  

 Larry King and I: September 2018 at Ava’s Heart Heroes Ball vs. November 2006 at The Larry King Cardiac Foundation Gala

Larry King and I: September 2018 at Ava’s Heart Heroes Ball vs. November 2006 at The Larry King Cardiac Foundation Gala

INTERVIEW WITH LARRY KING

JEANIFER H. CLARKE: What are your holiday plans?

LARRY KING
: We are going to Florida for Thanksgiving. My son is here, but I have another son and a daughter down in Florida. We are going to Disney World and do the whole... I lived in Florida for 20 years, so it would be nice to go back. 

JHC: That sounds like a lot of fun! Do you want anything for Christmas?

LK: What do I want for Christmas...
(son chimes in- "He wants green glasses!")

JHC: Green glasses?

LK: (Laughing) My tough kid. I love this kid. What do I want for Christmas? I would really love to have continued health for my boys. They are the only thing that count – is my boys. They count in life, my boys.

JHC: There's no better answer.

LK: And there is nothing like having children at an older age. You learn a lot, spend more time with them, than the others when I was growing up. 

JHC: That's some great advice. Do you have any advice for Britney Spears and her divorce situation with Kevin Federline?

LK: Oh- just muddle through. All you can do, is all you can do. Face the music and dance.  There's nothing you can do. 

JHC: I like that. Thank you.