Ready to Bail: Locals kick off 2006 Shelby County Jail Bail

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 11, 2006


On April 5, local leaders kicked off, the annual American Heart Association fundraiser, Shelby County Jail Bail for Heart, with a party at the Pelham Civic Complex from 11 a.m to 1 p.m.

The luncheon was in

preparation of the Shelby County Jail Bail, which will take place May 11.

Jail Bail for Heart is a spirited fundraiser in which local business and community leaders are &8220;arrested&8221; and bailed out by donations from their friends and family.

Bail money is turned over to the American Heart Association to fund heart disease and stroke research projects to develop new therapies and surgical procedures.

Over the past 24 years, Jail Bail for Heart has raised more than $3.4 million to fund cardiovascular research and education.

During this year&8217;s kick off, Shelby County Jail Bail for Heart chairman, Debbie Hawkins of Alabama Power, welcomed the Jailbirds and asked for their support in helping to raise this year&8217;s goal of $50,000.

Helping her raise the bails were Brenda Frias of Alabama Power, Jennifer Trammell of Bell South, Gina Anderson of Baptist Shelby Medical Center, Earl Niven of the City of Chelsea, Tom Seale of the City of Pelham, Gary Ivey of Crest Cadillac, Lori Conklin of the City of Alabaster, Ernie Brown of Regions Bank, Allan Lowe of the City of Columbiana, and Karen Ream of the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce.

Melisa Zwilling, a local attorney and Mrs. Alabama, shared her story about surviving a &8220;mini stroke.&8221;

While in her early 30s, Zwilling experienced an intense headache and began to have difficulty spelling words and speaking.

Alarmed, her husband rushed her to the emergency room. There, doctors first diagnosed Zwilling with a migraine headache and then with a trans-ischemic attack (TIA) sometimes called a &8220;mini stroke.&8221;

The doctors said Zwilling’s use of birth control pills in conjunction with a condition that allows her blood to clot more easily than some led to the mini-stroke.

Zwilling, now the proud mother of a little girl, takes an aspirin a day to prevent any further problems and works with the American Heart Association to spread awareness about heart disease and strokes in women.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women in Alabama and the nation while stroke is the No. 3 killer and primary cause of adult disability.

The American Heart Association currently funds 40 grants in Alabama totaling more than $5.4 million.

Thirty three of the grants were awarded to Birmingham researchers totaling $4.6 million.

These grants cover grants-in-aid, fellowships, and postgraduate research stipends.

For more information on Shelby County Jail Bail, the American Heart Association, or statistics on heart disease and stroke,

call 510-1500 or visit

The association is the largest voluntary health organization fighting heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, which annually kill about 950,000 Americans