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 storyand 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.
About University Hospitals / Cleveland, Ohio
Founded in 1866, University Hospitals serves the needs of patients through an integrated network of 23 hospitals (including 5 joint ventures), more than 50 health centers and outpatient facilities, and over 200 physician offices in 16 counties throughout northern Ohio. The system's flagship quaternary care, academic medical center, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, is affiliated with Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Oxford University and the Technion Israel Institute of Technology. The main campus also includes the UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, ranked among the top children's hospitals in the nation; UH MacDonald Women's Hospital, Ohio's only hospital for women; and UH Seidman Cancer Center, part of the NCI-designated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. UH is home to some of the most prestigious clinical and research programs in the nation, with more than 3,000 active clinical trials and research studies underway. UH Cleveland Medical Center is perennially among the highest performers in national ranking surveys, including "America's Best Hospitals" from U.S. News & World Report. UH is also home to 19 Clinical Care Delivery and Research Institutes. UH is one of the largest employers in Northeast Ohio with more than 30,000 employees. Follow UH on LinkedIn, Facebookand Twitter.For more information, visit UHhospitals.org.
About Make Them Know Your Name:
Make Them Know Your Name (MTKYN) is a heart health foundation propelled by individuals and organizations willing to take action to positively impact the heart disease epidemic. Denzel Ward and his family experienced first-hand the unexpected loss of their patriarch, Paul G. Ward Jr., to cardiac arrest while he participated in a spin class. He was 46 years old. His premature death left behind a purpose and a legacy to carry on. MTKYN has a mission to spread resources, education, and awareness for heart health and CPR/AED training within the Cleveland community and beyond. Visit MTKYN.org for more details.