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$1 million matching gift honors moms, boosts heart health

(NewMediaWire) - April 29, 2021 - DALLAS - Cardiovascular disease and strokes claim the life of one in every three women.[1] That’s why the American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to this fight, is announcing a matching gift challenge intended to specifically raise funds needed to improve women’s health and protect the hearts of moms everywhere.

For the first $1 million the American Heart Association raises online in May, Chicago donors and volunteers Valerie and Lee Shapiro are paying tribute this Mother’s Day to moms everywhere by matching digital donations up to $1M. Lee is also a volunteer officer and member of the Association’s board of directors. All of the monies raised through the challenge will go directly to fund scientific research, initiatives to increase heart disease awareness among women and other lifesaving efforts of the Association.

Valerie Shapiro knows firsthand the value of breakthrough science. Her own mom’s life was extended thanks to advances in care made possible by the scientific discovery funded and led by the American Heart Association. At 71, she had emergency triple bypass surgery. She eventually received an artificial heart valve and a pacemaker. As a result, Valerie gained years with her mom and is “forever grateful” for the gift of more time together.

“My mom was my best friend and not a day goes by that I don’t miss her,” Valerie said. “We lost her five days before her 92nd birthday, but thanks to lifesaving research funded by the American Heart Association, our family made special memories for another 20 years. Lee and I both lost our mothers to cardiovascular disease, which is why we can’t think of a better time to honor moms everywhere than during the month in which we celebrate Mother’s Day.”

Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of women. During the COVID-19 pandemic, women everywhere have seen their roles as mothers and caretakers stressed and their responsibilities increased, while at the same time experiencing reduced social support and limited opportunities for physical activity. Many mothers now balance working at home while also taking care of young children, overseeing remote schooling and caring for older family members.

“Too often it is our moms who put their own health and well-being on the back burner,” American Heart Association Chief Executive Officer Nancy Brown said. “While moms take care of the hearts of those they love, the American Heart Association is here to take care of theirs. My hope is that the Shapiro’s generosity and commitment to women’s health will inspire others to honor the moms in their lives by donating to our lifesaving mission and in turn, create a legacy of health for all mothers for decades to come.”

Interested donors are encouraged to donate at Then tell her what she means to you by sending them a customizable e-card, along with a note that a donation to the American Heart Association was made in their name and honor. The Association believes moms deserve more than just one day and we’re excited to celebrate and protect their hearts throughout the month – especially on Mother’s Day, May 9. To help create a groundswell for the campaign, we are also encouraging everyone to share stories of their hero moms across social media using the hashtag #MyHeroMyMom.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

For Media Inquiries: 214-706-1173

Leslie Holland: 214-706-1438;

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721) and



[1] Virani SS, Alonso A, Aparicio HJ, Benjamin EJ, Bittencourt MS, Callaway CW, Carson AP, Chamberlain AM, Cheng S, Delling FN, Elkind MSV, Evenson KR, Ferguson JF, Gupta DK, Khan SS, Kissela BM, Knutson KL, Lee CD, Lewis TT, Liu J, Loop MS, Lutsey PL, Ma J, Mackey J, Martin SS, Matchar DB, Mussolino ME, Navaneethan SD, Perak AM, Roth GA, Samad Z, Satou GM, Schroeder EB, Shah SH, Shay CM, Stokes A, VanWagner LB, Wang N-Y, Tsao CW; on behalf of the American Heart Association Council on Epidemiology and Prevention Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2021 update: a report from the American Heart Association [published online ahead of print January 27, 2021]. Circulation. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000950, Link.

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