Three Women Discover the Beauty of the Living Beat Connecting Us All
Can you hear it? Listen closely, for it’s always there. That strong, steady, eternal beat that is uniquely ours, the rhythm of our lives—our heartbeat. It has always been there and always will be—from that very first pulse heard on an ultrasound to the nervous flutter of a first day at school to the thrilling sensation of first love and the tragic ache of loss. It lives on long after us too, through our children and their children; a beautiful rhythm that transcends time.
No one understands this sentiment better than this year’s 57th Annual Phoenix Heart Ball Chairman Jennifer Carmer, who, along with her sister Jamie Goslin and daughter Caroline Carmer, sit down to share what really makes their hearts beat.
The Very First Beat
That pulse to give back to others by any means that they can runs deep through all three women’s veins, something they acquired from Jennifer and Jamie’s mother— a beautiful, strong woman with a passion for helping and inspiring others.
“You just learn so much from your parents, and our mother was always volunteering. I remember one year she was our Girl Scout Leader and cookie chairman, and she really went all out for it. Our whole garage was filled with boxes of cookies for weeks, but it was so much fun,” recalls Jamie. “That was mom in a nutshell, always serving.”
As a nurse, their mother also knew all the ins and outs of how to keep a heart healthy, both physically and emotionally, using her expertise to nourish and rehabilitate all the hearts in need of mending around her.
“One of the things my mom did that I’ll always remember is that she would constantly encourage you. She always seemed to have the right words and would take the time to write little encouraging notes to people,” says Jennifer. “She was just one of those people that had compassion no matter what, and I still aspire to be just like that.”
A Steady Rhythm
It seems that both Jennifer and Jamie followed in their mother’s footsteps, honoring her legacy in different ways.
Jamie, who inherited her mother’s knack for caring for those who are ill, grew up to become a nurse too, working closely with school children and implementing practices of healthy living, along with volunteerism and compassion, into the lives of her own children as well.
“Even though I had a full-time job, I always took a day out of each week to volunteer in my kids’ classrooms so they knew that I was there to support them, which is something I think I probably learned from my mother,” she says.
Jennifer also developed a passion for getting out in the community and lending a helping hand, especially when it came to setting an example for her own children.
“My mom was always there for us growing up no matter what,” says Caroline. “She just takes care of everything, no matter what it is. I still call whenever there is something wrong or there’s something that I can’t explain.”
Hearts in Motion
It was actually while volunteering in her daughter’s classroom that Jennifer found what truly makes her heart beat.
“I got really involved in school activities, and one day I met some women who were on the Phoenix Heart Ball committee and we became friends and soon I was asked to be on the committee,” says Jennifer.
With each passing year, Jennifer got more and more involved as a committee member, as she came to deeply admire not only the American Heart Association’s work in advancing heart care technology, but also in educating the community about preventative measures through programs such as CPR training and the Halle Heart Museum, in Phoenix.
Finally, last year, the committee approached her about becoming chairman of the 57th Annual Heart Ball.
“I never expected them to ask me to do it and hadn’t really ever thought of becoming chairman before,” says Jennifer. “But then I remembered my mother and that the whole reason I even started to volunteer was because of what was ingrained in me as a child: that if someone needed something you helped, no matter what.”
In honor of the strongest heart she knew, that of her mother, Jennifer came up with this year’s Phoenix Heart Ball theme of “Hearts in Rhythm,” along with the platform of raising awareness for women’s heart disease and theme color pink.
“My mother is the reason that I am here today. She was always volunteering, always such a beautiful, strong woman and always wearing bright pink,” says Jennifer.
“Just like a light in a room, always gentle, kind and compassionate—a perfect woman,” adds Caroline.
From grandmother, to daughter, to granddaughter; one heartbeat keeping time in a beautiful, melodious rhythm throughout the years and for many more ahead.
The 57th Annual Phoenix Heart Ball will take place on Saturday, November 19, 2016 at The Phoenician Grand Ballroom. For more information, please visit PhoenixHeartBall.AHAEvents.org