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After Mary Kay Ballasiotes’ daughter, Michelle, had a blood vessel burst on the left side of her brain before she was born, Ballasiotes searched for a way to educate others on pediatric strokes.
Ballasiotes founded the nonprofit International Alliance for Pediatric Stroke (IAPS), a source of information for those with loved ones affected by pediatric stroke. She also partnered with the American Heart Association to spread awareness of strokes in children and babies.
“Children are a population that has been ignored when it comes to stroke,” she said. “I knew that needed to change.”
Ballasiotes, who had her daughter in Chicago, came to Charlotte a few years ago and remained involved with the American Heart Association.
Ballasiotes recently worked with the association to co-produce the video “A Stroke Can Happen at Any Time” and an educational infographic on strokes.
“We are both on the same page moving forward for these kids,” she said.
Ballasiotes is also an active member of the You’re the Cure network and visits legislatures in Raleigh and Washington for the AHA/ASA Lobby Day each year.
For her work, Ballasiotes recently received the 2014 N.C. AHA Dr. Robert Blackburn Award for Advocacy Excellence.
“I’m honored they gave me this award,” she said.
Ballasiotes said her goal is to inform the public that strokes do happen in children and babies even before birth.
“We want to increase research for this population so we can learn how to diagnose, treat and prevent strokes,” she said. “This population can’t be ignored any longer.”
Michelle, now 17, has had many years of treatments and therapy but never fully recovered function on her right side.
Ballasiotes said risk factors are harder to determine in children and babies.
“It’s really hard to prevent strokes when we don’t know what’s causing them,” she said. “That really needs to change.”
For information, visit http://ia–pediatricstroke.org or heart.org.
During the Charlotte Piano Teachers Forum Concerto Competition in November, 85 students competed at Queen’s University.
The students performed one movement from a piano concerto from memory and were recognized for their accomplishments.
Lisa Zhang, a fifth-grader at Elizabeth Lane Elementary, placed first in the elementary division with her performance of Mozart Concerto in D Major. Zhang, 11, has placed in the top three the last few years.
“I was happy,” she said.
Joy Bao-Dai, 12, placed second in the intermediates.
“I did pretty well overall,” she said.
A seventh-grader at Jay M. Robinson Middle School, Bao-Dai has been playing piano for seven years.
Christopher and Emma Saba both did well in the concerto.
Christopher, 12, placed second in junior intermediate. He has competed in the forum for five years. Christopher is home-schooled and in seventh grade. He has been playing piano for seven years.
Emma, 17, has been playing for 13 years and placed first in senior. She is a junior at Charlotte Latin School.
The concerto winners received the Medallion of Merit and performed on Nov. 23 at Southern Park Music School.
The winners included:
• Primary: Anthony Yang, first; Keyan Miao, second; Serena Lin, third. Honorable mention: Kelsey Sciacca and Daniel Wei.
• Elementary: Lisa Zhang, first; Evan Xie, second; Merrill doherty and Emma Kelly, tied for third. Honorable mention: Elaine Liu and Jasmine Liu.
• Intermediate: Olivia Yang, first; Joy Bao-Dai, second; Matthe Li and Harin Lim, tied for third.
• Junior: Keona Lim-Rose, first; Christopher Saba, second; Santiago Matute, third.
• Senior: Emma Saba, first; Claire Liu, second; Jun Son, third. Honorable mention: Andrew Murphy.
From Rock Hill
Rock Hill native artist Carrie Alderfer draws inspiration from colors.
She works from her home studio in Alabama. Alderfer also owns ChromAddict Studio, an award-winning design studio she launched in 2002.
On Dec. 20, Alderfer opened a studio in Lowe Mill Arts and Entertainment Art League in Huntsville, Ala., the country’s largest privately owned arts center. For information, visit chromaddict.com.
Eight debutantes were honored Dec. 21 at the annual tea of The Debutante Club of Rock Hill.
The event took place at the home of Mrs. Christopher Marion Hicklin. The tea marked the beginning of the 51st debutante season. Mrs. Robert Wesley Hayes is the 2014-2015 president of The Debutante Club of Rock Hill.
Debutantes who were honored included:
• Virginia Gracen Barnes, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Milling Barnes. She is a freshman at The Citadel.
• Rebecca Elizabeth Bonham, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Douglas Edward Roberts of Chapin, S.C. She is a freshman at Wofford College.
• Jane Marylyn Bunton, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Brian Dean Harty of Rock Hill. She is a freshman at the University of South Carolina.
• Elizabeth Louise Ellis, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bernie Wellington Ellis of Greenville, S.C. She is a freshman at the University of Virginia.
• Daria Suzanna Chandler London, daughter of Lieutenant Colonel and Mrs. John Rutherford London III of Madison, Ala. She is a freshman at Pensacola Christian College.
• Anna Rose Ramsey, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Gilbert Ramsey. She is a freshman at the University of South Carolina Lancaster.
• Erica Lynn Sortet, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Todd Sortet of Rock Hill. She is a sophomore at the University of South Carolina Upstate.
• Wesley Ann Turner, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Scott Turner of Rock Hill. She is a freshman at the University of South Carolina.