DRIVEN HEARTS: The American Heart Association’s stepped-up commitment to heart health in the age of COVID-19

Credit: Original article published by Barrett-Jackson.

Written by Barbara Toombs



With American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown on the block, a 1988 35th Anniversary Corvette sold for $350,000 to benefit the AHA at the 2018 Scottsdale Auction to kick off the yearlong “Driven Hearts” charitable initiative.

Since its very inception, Barrett-Jackson has provided the powerful platform of its auction block to sell vehicles to benefit many worthy causes across the United States. In 2009, the company was honored to begin what has become a longstanding relationship with the American Heart Association (AHA) – a partnership that really came into the spotlight in 2018 when Barrett-Jackson launched its first-ever yearlong charity initiative known as “Driven Hearts” for the AHA. The campaign not only raised millions but reached millions, providing all-important information about the warning signs of a stroke and the importance of paying attention to our heart health.

Now, with COVID-19 dominating the lives of so many, the AHA is dedicating new resources to fight the coronavirus while helping keep patients informed and safe.

The Association is working with researchers, medical experts, community leaders, businesses, families and more to reduce the impact of the coronavirus, and has established a $2.5 million rapid research fund to fast-track scientific research to better understand COVID-19 and its interaction with cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.

“This fast-moving COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique set of challenges summed up in one word: uncertainty,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. “Millions of people are counting on us for science-based guidance, research that gets to the core of big unanswered questions, resources for the front lines, community programs and patient support. I’m humbled every day by our 40 million staff, volunteers and supporters, many of whom are on the front lines of this pandemic, who are demonstrating real humanity and prioritizing the people who are counting on us most.”

According to the AHA, some 120 million heart disease and stroke patients may be at higher risk of complications from the coronavirus (COVID-19). Those with hypertension, diabetes or cardiovascular disease who get COVID-19 appear to be dying at rates two to three times higher than the general population. In addition, says the AHA, among patients who died from COVID-19, substantial cardiac damage has been observed.

It’s not something the Association is taking lightly. In addition to swiftly responding to COVID-19 by funding rapid scientific research, the AHA is also supporting front-line health care workers, as well as helping communities and individuals navigate the complex challenges intensified by the global pandemic ranging from food security to access to care.

Now more than ever, the AHA is emphasizing the importance of calling 911 before performing CPR. (Reenactment photo)

One aspect of the pandemic that is causing particular concern among major national organizations dedicated to saving people from heart disease and stroke, including the American Heart Association, is that people are reluctant to go to the hospital. While reports from the front lines of hospitals indicate a marked drop in the number of heart attacks and strokes nationally, many medical professionals are worried that people just aren’t calling 911.

Although COVID-19 is certainly our most immediate threat, they say, it is important to remember the ever-lurking dangers of heart disease and stroke – which, year in and year out, are the top two killers worldwide. They urge people at higher risk of a stroke or cardiac event to contact their providers for a telehealth visit to ensure they are managing their risk factors, such as blood pressure, and taking other precautions.

Most importantly, remember that if you or a loved one experiences heart attack warning signs – chest discomfort; discomfort in other areas of the body such as your arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach; shortness of breath; and other possible signs, such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness – call 911. If you have stroke symptoms – which can be remembered with the acronym FAST: Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech slurring or other difficulty – then it’s Time to call 911.

Barrett-Jackson applauds the efforts of the American Heart Association during this difficult time in our nation’s history, and we look forward to helping them continue their important work in the years ahead.


If you need current, science-based information about the COVID-19 pandemic, the AHA is available to help via live chat or extensive information on their website. You can also call their customer service line at 1-800-242-8721.

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