Gift to be used to positively impact heart disease epidemic
Denzel Ward and his family's Make Them Know Your Name Foundation (MTKYN) are supporting University Hospitals (UH) Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute with a $150,000 donation. The institute will use the generous gift to launch a community education initiative surrounding heart health.
Ward, cornerback for the Cleveland Browns, created MTKYN in memory of his father who passed away in 2016 due to cardiac arrest. The foundation’s mission is to positively impact the heart disease epidemic, in part through providing CPR training, AED equipment and resources, and community education to emphasize the importance of living a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Close to half a million Americans die each year from cardiac arrest, according to the American Heart Association. Cardiac arrest is fatal nearly 90 percent of the time but performing immediate CPR can double or triple chances of survival.
“I know first-hand what it is like to experience a loss due to a cardiac episode,” said Ward. “That’s why I’m so passionate about expanding outreach and education in this city that means so much to me, with hope of being able to expand our reach even further in the future.”
Ward and MTKYN have a history of support for UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute
. Ward was nominated as the Browns' recipient for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2021 and because of that was given the opportunity to provide a fan with two Super Bowl tickets. He and MTKYN selected UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute patient Raheem Stanfield after hearing his story
and how it perfectly fit the mission of the foundation. Stanfield suffered a cardiac arrest in 2016 at the age of 25. A bystander saved his life by administering CPR.
“Partnering with UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute to care for the community makes perfect sense for us and our foundation,” said Nicole Ward, Executive Director of MTKYN and Denzel’s mother. “We’re excited to see how this donation will make a positive impact, especially as we look to focus on areas with a population of people of color.”
“To receive this type of support from Denzel and the Make Them Know Your Name Foundation means we can continue in our mission to improve the health of all people in Northeast Ohio. Through education and awareness we save lives,” said Mehdi Shishehbor, DO, MPH, PhD, President of UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute, and Angela and James Hambrick Chair in Innovation.