11th Anniversary Heart & Star Award Dinner

Annual event to honor three community leaders



Awards dinner emcee, CBS4 Anchor, Cynthia Demos
On Thursday, April 11, the Cancer Support Community Greater Miami will host the 2013 Heart & Star Award Dinner at Temple Beth Am in Pinecrest. John Arasi, Briana Vega and Richard Zakheim, M.D. will be honored at this prestigious signature event.

Arasi will be receiving the Champion of the Community Spirit Award for his philanthropic and community leadership; Vega, the Champion of the Human Spirit Award for her work as a cancer survivor – the first child to ever receive a Champion honor; and Dr. Zakheim, the Founder's Award, for outstanding volunteer leadership. More than 400 business and philanthropic leaders from the Greater Miami area will be in attendance for the event.

"John, Briana and Richard are extremely deserving honorees who have done so much for cancer awareness, our medical community and for Miami-Dade County in general. We are grateful and proud to have them as our Heart & Star Honorees as well as supporters and advocates of the Cancer Support Community Greater Miami," said Danielle Spiegelman, Executive Director of the organization. "They have each performed extraordinary acts of kindness and have selflessly worked to inspire hope and action."


John Arasi
Arasi will receive the Champion of the Community Spirit Award in recognition of his charitable leadership and his ability to unite others motivating them to focus on a greater good for our community. Involved in a wide range of community activities such as DaVita Kidney Trust, the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life of East Kendall, and the Gateway Community Outreach of Deerfield Beach, Arasi is currently the Vice Chairman of the CSCGM Board of Directors and the Chairman of our annual Tee Off Fore Wellness Golf & Tennis Tournament.

Additionally, Arasi founded Sharp General Contractors (SGC) in 1999 and today it is one of Florida's leading commercial contracting companies. Specializing in medical facilities and dialysis centers, he was introduced to the CSCGM through this important work. His steadfast dedication to helping others, and the humble and elegant way in which he makes magic happen for the many – or just the one – further illustrates that he is the model candidate for the Champion of Community Spirit Award.


Briana Vega
Photo by Humberto Vega
Vega will receive the Champion of Human Spirit Award as a tribute to being a cancer survivor and a beacon of light and hope for others faced with the illness. She is the first child to ever receive a Champion Award.

Also Miami Children's Hospital's official Jr. Ambassador, Vega is being recognized for doing extraordinary acts to create awareness, hope and education about pediatric oncology while she herself is battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia. A fifth grader who was diagnosed just a few weeks after her 10th birthday, Vega left Howard Drive Elementary to start treatment at Miami Children's Hospital.

Vega was a keynote speaker at the 2012 Miami Children's Hospital Diamond Ball; has been featured on network television, and in newspapers. Yet, with all of that amazing fanfare in less than 10 months, her most courageous endeavor was that of reaching out to the other children and families at Howard Drive Elementary. It has been her mission, and that of her family, to bravely share her cancer experience with them.


Dr. Richard Zakheim
Dr. Zakheim, the 2013 Founder's Award recipient, moved to Miami in 1977 and founded the Pediatric Cardiology Department at Miami Children's Hospital (MCH). In 2006 he also founded the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Clinic at MCH. Consequently, Dr. Zakheim, and the staff he recruited, has led the pediatric cardiology division at MCH to become a world leader in the care of children with congenital heart disorders. They have treated more children with heart defects than any hospital in Florida with clinical results that have been internationally recognized.

In 1999 he and his wife Pam founded The Wellness Community-Greater Miami, now known as the Cancer Support Community Greater Miami (CSCGM). From the onset, Dr. Zakheim brought wisdom, guidance, and a commitment to provide services that meet the highest clinical standards. The programs offered at CSCGM enjoy the confidence of the large medical oncology treatment community in Miami-Dade. The majority of those who attend the free support, education and healthy lifestyle services offered are referred by their doctors and nurses.

The Heart & Star Award Dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 11th, at Temple Beth Am, The Richard & Janet Yulman Campus, located at 5950 N. Kendall Drive.

For more information click below or call the Cancer Support Community Greater Miami at 305-668-5900.