John F. Kennedy said: “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”
One such person was the founder of the Aiken Women’s Heart Board, Mrs. Eleanor Bookstaver.
In 1968, after losing her mother to heart disease, and with the goal of promoting heart health and research, Eleanor decided to make a difference.
Ava Hammond, Communication Chair for the AWHB was quoted in a Aiken Standard Newspaper article as saying:
"So being the feisty lady she was, Eleanor calls former first lady Mamie Eisenhower [whom she had met] and said 'when you and Ike come down to play golf again over in Augusta, I'd like to meet with you.'"
At that meeting, Eleanor explained what she wanted to do, and Mamie Eisenhower [agreed], spent time with [her] and helped her organize the whole thing.
During the early years, there was a fashion show and a dinner to raise monies for the American Heart Association. But for the past 44 years, the annual benefit has been an original musical play, written and performed by our local CSRA talent! The writers, cast, band and crew, along with the 45 women of the Aiken Women’s Heart Board, volunteer their time and talent to bring together a show that has become an Aiken tradition. There are six performances in February as well as an encore performance that is held in the September - all performances are held at the Etheredge Center (USC Aiken) through our partnership with the USCA Theater Department.
After taking a pause in 2021, the Heart Benefit Show was back in 2022 with a wonderful show! Through the monies raised from the Benefit, from donations and from other events such as the Holiday Outdoor Concert and performances by the Heart Throbs, we are donating to the AHA $101,735.00 for the 2021-2022 year.
Over the years the Aiken Women's Heart Board has donated over $2.6 million dollars to the American Heart Association (AHA) through the support of generous persons from Aiken, SC and surrounding communities.
The Aiken Women’s Heart Board's purpose is to support the American Heart Association's mission which is “to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives - free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.”
The 35th U.S. President (1961-1963)
First Lady of the USA (1953 -1961)
Wife of President Dwight Eisenhower,
The 34th U.S President.
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer worldwide, and stroke ranks second globally.
Even when those conditions don’t result in death, they cause disability and diminish quality of life.
The AWHB continues to raise heart health awareness and generate financial offering in support of heart disease education and research.
Your support of AWHB has made a positive difference in lives of many individuals throughout our community and nation.
Donated to the
American Heart Association
Community Service to the Aiken, South Carolina Area