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The Heart of the Hamptons Heart Ball has been at Wolffer’s wine stand in Sagaponack for the past three years. (Photo courtesy of Samantha Macleod)

Tomorrow evening, the American Heart Association hosts its 2024 “Heart of the Hamptons Heart Ball”, a centennial celebration and fundraiser set for the Wine Stand at Wölffer Estate in Sagaponack.

While the event — now it its third year at the Sagaponack locale — promises to be a textbook, swanky Hamptons event, filled with live entertainment, curated chef tasting menus and a silent auction, it’s held in conjunction with the start of new efforts to regain the footing the Long Island initiative of the AHA had originally lost among the East End community due to the pandemic.

“With Covid, we lost our footing with the local people,” says Samantha Macleod, newly appointed development director of the AHA’s Long Island initiative, headquartered in Melville. We’re trying to reconnect with people at the local level.”

For months now, Macleod and her team have been working tirelessly doing “lots of outreach” to local businesses and organizations with the hope of collaborating and, ultimately, spreading awareness on heart health and wellness the non-profit has been promoting for over century.

“Although the American Heart Association partners with big health facilities (with this year’s Heart Ball sponsored by Mount Sinai South Nassau and Stony Brook Medicine), we want people to know everyone, everywhere should and can live longer, healthier lives,” she says. “And whether you’re rich or poor, it shouldn’t matter. We want to bring that mentality back to the Hamptons, to localize everything and make it appealing for the people who live here.”

Recently, Macleod traveled to Share the Harvest Farm in East Hampton to meet with creative director Meredith Arm to get a tour of the grounds. “We want to try to get involved with spreading nutrition awareness,” Macleod says, “and we want to be able to customize that for people’s needs.” Mother to a daughter diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, Macleod is well-versed in the benefits of nutrition education, as well as areas of mental health, exercise and positive lifestyle practices. Her and her team are also trying to spearhead locally sourced, AHA CPR demonstrations as well as easily accessible health and wellness visits.

“The AHA is such a vast organization that’s doing so much. We’re trying to figure out what people are looking for in the community.”

Last month, students at Hampton Bays Elementary School learned about heart health thanks to the AHA’s Jumpstart program which features a jumping event utilizing jump ropes, pogo sticks and more.