Local Heroes Inspire Health, Wholeness and Hope

Each year the Adventist Health Foundation recognizes people in the Portland, Ore., community who give of themselves to meet the needs of others and names them Heroes of the Heart.

Proceeds from this year’s foundation gala benefited the lifesaving services at Northwest Regional Heart and Vascular. The generous gifts shared by attendees and the Adventist Health Foundation’s key partners will have an immediate and lasting impact on friends, family and loved ones in the local community.

Guests at the gala enjoyed a special experience with six-time Grammy Award-winning artist Amy Grant. Through stories and songs, Grant took guests on a journey through peaks and valleys from her personal life. By listening to the Holy Spirit and stepping out in faith, she has found renewed purpose by developing a summer camp that serves children in need. Grant says these experiences have revealed to her what is possible when, like the Heroes of the Heart, we seek to help others and answer a calling greater than ourselves.

At the Heroes of the Heart Gala, team members and key community partners met with three 2018 heroes and learned their inspirational stories.

Abby Egland, Abby’s Closet founder

Abby’s Closet started with a pink prom dress and the desire to let it dance again with someone who might not otherwise have the opportunity. The nonprofit has hosted more than a decade of prom gown giveaways for students from more than 250 schools in Oregon and southwest Washington.

Beyond giving away more than 24,000 dresses, Abby’s Closet empowers high school students to learn leadership skills through their student advisory board. They award a college scholarship each year. The goal of Abby’s Closet is to make every participant feel special, beautiful and confident.

Anna and John Canzano, The Bald Faced Truth Foundation co-founders

Founded in 2009 by KGW-TV sports commentator John Canzano and his wife, KOIN-TV weekend anchor Anna Canzano, the foundation provides opportunities and experiences for Oregon’s youth.

The Bald Faced Truth Foundation has made a significant difference in the lives of more than 14,000 area children by providing enriching opportunities and life experiences. Grants are also awarded to organizations, schools, clubs, leagues and teams needing financial assistance.

Grace-Ann Pegnone, Pamplin Media’s 'Amazing Kid'

Canby High School sophomore Grace-Ann Pegnone has found the secret to enjoying life: serving others. Her service activities and leadership in Oregon State University Extention’s 4-H program highlight her kindness, good citizenship and willingness to provide hundreds of volunteer hours to benefit others in need.

For the past five years, Pegnone has organized a toy drive for the Clackamas County Department of Health and Human Services. By distributing gift tags to churches and local businesses, she collects hundreds of gifts and coordinates distribution through a holiday party for foster children and their parents.

Pegnone says, “I am not able to solve the larger issue of why a child is in foster care, but I can help them create positive memories with their parents at the holidays.”

May 11, 2018 / Adventist Health