Kevin Hicks and Jackie DeSouza have been spending a lot of time poolside since mid-January, and their colleagues at Research Medical Center are starting to take sides over the situation.
In a good-natured challenge to benefit the Greater Kansas City Chapter of the American Heart Association during Heart Month, Research Medical Center’s Chief Executive Officer Kevin Hicks and Chief Operating Officer Jackie DeSouza have agreed to a competitive swim challenge. At 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 26, Hicks, an enthusiastic golfer and cyclist and DeSouza, a natural athlete, will compete in a head-to-head 50-meter freestyle race at the Research Brookside Campus Health and Fitness Center. The stakes? The loser has agreed to donate $2,000 to the American Heart Association (AHA) through the Research Medical Center’s Heart Walk team. Employees are making donations to Team Hicks or Team DeSouza as well, with those proceeds also being donated to the American Heart Association.
All media is invited to the Team Hicks/Team DeSouza swim challenge at 2 p.m., Feb. 26 at Research Medical Center Brookside campus at 6675 Holmes, Kansas City, Mo. Interviews will be available following the race.
“We’re happy to be able to put together a friendly competition to benefit the Heart Association,” says Hicks, who swam during high school. “I’ll be playing the role of Rocky—you know, coming from behind for the final victory!”
DeSouza, who also was a member of her high school’s swim team, admits to her competitive streak. “I’m just a little on the competitive side,” she says. “Kevin and I actually started talking about this challenge a couple of years ago, so we’re excited that it’s now a reality.”
Hicks acknowledges that the swim challenge is a spirited opportunity to help bring awareness to the issue of heart disease. “Heart disease has undoubtedly touched almost every employee at Research Medical Center in some way,” he says. “As healthcare professionals it’s our mission to help fight the No. 1 killer in America. Jackie and I are very serious about the reason we’re swimming.”
The American Heart Association estimates that more than 82 million American adults have one or more types of cardiovascular disease. “That’s one in three people,” says DeSouza. “We’re proud to have some of the best cardiologists in the Kansas City area at Midwest Heart Care at Research Medical Center to help treat, prevent and stop this devastating disease.”
Research Medical Center is part of HCA Midwest Health System, the largest healthcare network in Kansas City. HCA Midwest/Midwest Heart Care is the AHA Heart Walk day-of-event sponsor and has been the top fundraiser for the past four years. This year’s Heart Walk, which draws thousands of people raising money and awareness about the prevention of heart disease, is on May 21, 2011. HCA Midwest Health System is also the exclusive hospital sponsor of the Kansas City Go Red for Women movement.
Team Hicks and Team DeSouza—and their cheering fans—will take their places at the pool on the Research Medical Center Brookside campus at 6675 Holmes, Kansas City, Mo., on Feb. 26. “May the best team win!” says Hicks.