Sat12202014

Scarlet Night fundraiser draws crowd, kudos and support

Photo Arun Kumar/Special To The Town Crier

Among several hundred guests at the South Asian Heart Center’s annual fundraiser, Scarlet Night, were, from left, Palo Alto residents Mahesh Balakrishnan and his wife, Prerana Vaidya Priya Dharan and her husband, Murali Dharan of Los Altos and 1170 AM KLOK’s radio host, Shachi Patel, who hosts the Indian Angle radio show, which highlights topics and issues of interest in the South Asian Indian community.

Attendance topped more than 700 at the second annual Scarlet Night, a fundraiser for the South Asian Heart Center at El Camino Hospital.

More than $115,000 was raised March 20 at the San Jose Convention Center from ticket sales, sponsorships, donations, a silent auction and grants to support the center’s goal in providing access to heart disease assessment, lifestyles counseling and other preventive services for the South Asian population.

El Camino launched the center in 2006 after a communitywide task force identified a silent epidemic among South Asians. Hospital emergency rooms were admitting heart-attack patients in that population at more than three times the rate of other groups.

Cardiologists also noticed that South Asian patients experienced heart attacks at earlier ages than expected and without the conventional symptoms that would prompt further heart screenings. Many had normal weights, cholesterol and blood-pressure numbers and consumed vegetarian diets.

At the fundraiser, representatives of the city of San Jose and Santa Clara County commended the center for its work. The South Asian Heart Center has become the leader in screening and coaching South Asians to reduce their risk of heart disease. It has established partnerships in prevention programs elsewhere and published research findings based on its first three years of data in metabolic, genetic and behavioral trends.

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