Heart attack survivor Cadillac Jack to emcee WellStar's Grand Gala

Did you know WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta is the site of the state's busiest emergency room?

I didn't, and we live three blocks away. We haven't had to visit often but have received quick and top-notch care on those rare, unfortunate occasions. (Pro tip: When your husband attempts guacamole for the first time, take the knife and avocado away and head to Taqueria Tsunami on the Marietta Square instead. Theirs is excellent and your evening will not involve stitches.)


In keeping with Well-Star's broad reach, the 21st annual WellStar Starlight Grand Gala moves to a new location, The Whitley Atlanta Buckhead, formerly the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead, 3434 Peachtree Road NE. There will be valet parking available.

The black-tie event, planned for 6 p.m. April 21, benefits WellStar Health System's emergency and trauma services.

A ballroom at the newly rechristened Whitley Buckhead.

Local broadcaster Cadillac Jack, a heart attack survivor who was treated at WellStar North Fulton Hospital, will emcee the program.

Last year Caddy (also known as William Choate) talked with AJC radio and television reporter Rodney Ho about the heart attack he experienced at age 41. He felt a shooting pain while swimming, but didn't realize what serious trouble he was in. Turns out, he had an 80 percent blockage in a key artery. Read the entire interview here .

Having no family heart disease history and no past hospitalizations, Caddy said the ordeal was "a surprise to me and a surprise to most everybody else, including the doctors. You are very emotional after coming that close to death and surviving. It takes your life in a different direction and you see life from a different perspective."

The WellStar Starlight Grand Gala, co-chaired by Suzann Wilcox and Fitz Johnson and Kristen and Drew Shambarger, honors former Kennestone CEO Bernie Brown with the Visionary Leadership Award and posthumously honors the late Pete Wood with the Well-Star Cobb Hospital Golden Anniversary Founders Award.

Other honorees include Imogene Walraven Waldrop (Luminary Award/Philanthropist of the Year), Kevin Dunn (Super Star Award/ Volunteer of the Year), Dr. Jeff Tharp (Shining Star Award/Physician of the Year) and Casey Stokes, R.N. (Rock Star Award/ Caregiver of the Year).

The gala host committee includes Susan and Ken Barber, Dr. Avril Beckford and Dr. Lawrence Rowley, Brittney and David Bottoms, Ashley and Otis Brumby, Dr. Megan Durham and Chris Durham, Christie and Dr. Tom Emerson, Britt and John Fleck, Mary Ann and Bill Foree, Teena and Rob Garcia, Kim Gresh and George Hartzog, Rhonda and Mark Jacobson, Peggy and Dr. Doug Lundy, Bonnie and Gary Miller, Ruth and Greg Morgan, Tom and Betty Phillips, Mary and Mike Plant, Michelle and Pete Quinones, John Rainwater and Cecelia and Jay Wallace.

For ticket and sponsorship information, see well-star.org/gala.

About the Author

Jennifer Brett
Jennifer Brett
Jennifer Brett writes The Buzz blog for accessAtlanta.comVisit The Buzz blog.