By Kathy Shayna Shocket
April 3, 2007
The Arizona Heart Foundation hosted the grand opening of the Translational Research Center with the help of singer/songwriter Stevie Nicks.
On Sunday afternoon a small invitation-only group of bighearted people joined Stevie Nicks at the Arizona Heart Foundation for the dedication of its new research building at Thomas Road and 20th Street. It's been a nine-year, grass-roots effort - literally - starting when a small group of visionaries gathered on the lawn of Ted Diethrich's Paradise Valley home to plant the first fundraising seeds for the building's $4 million campaign.
Sunday's private dedication for the Arizona Heart Foundation's Cardiovascular Research and Education Building was bittersweet.
"This was my dad's dream," Nicks said of her father, Jess, who died two years ago of heart disease. Jess' heart gave out a few days after Nicks' Dodge Theatre concert benefiting the foundation in August 2005.
Nicks' mother, Barbara, who was by her side at Sunday's party, also has heart disease, and the Arizona Heart Institute has been an important part of the Nickses' lives.
"This is the house that Jess and Stevie built," noted Gerry Kroloff, the foundation's executive administrator, also a Paradise Valley resident.
Paul and Ellen Gerding of Paradise Valley led Sunday's private dedication catered by Paradise Valley resident Vincent Guerithault.
"I know my father's here," Nicks said. "He'd be saying 'Stevie, this is so great.'"
"So, Jess, this one is for you," said Kroloff of the platform to push the envelope for the future of cardiovascular medicine.