Join us for an incredible evening of inspiration and entertainment. Mingle with donor and transplant families and hear their amazing, miraculous stories.



As an Actor, Maria Howell has appeared in hit TV shows such as Lifetime’s, “Army Wives”, “Revolution”, “Aquarius”and on both on NBC, and MTV’s, “Finding Carter”.  

Her Theatrical credits include “The Blind Side”, “What To Expect When You’re Expecting”, “Addicted”, “The Good Lie” and “Hunger Games.

A Song Stylist in her own right, Maria has shared the musical stage with such legendary artists as Nancy Wilson, George Benson, Ray Charles and Earl Klugh. After a very successful 6 year stint in Asia, Maria relocated back to the U.S. and performed at Sambuca Jazz Café for 9 consecutive years. She and pianist Bill Wilson (son of legendary jazz pianist Teddy Wilson), held the distinction of being the longest running act at the Atlanta location. Since then, she makes recurring appearances at well known jazz/supper clubs and festivals across the U.S.

As a Voiceover Artist, Maria lends her voice to numerous TV and radio commercials, animation, video games, and audiobook narrations.

Maria is not only an actor and singer, but a very devoted supporter of her charity of choice, Students Without Mothers, where she has served as a board member for over 7 years, and Co-chair of its annual holiday benefit concert.



Vincent is a world-renowned director and choreographer who creates in every genre of the entertainment industry; film, theatre, Broadway, concert tours, opera, music videos, television and commercials. This will be Vincent Paterson’s third time Directing the Ava’s Heart Heroes Ball. He has directed & choreographed the musical Evita in Vienna, the opera Manon in Los Angeles with soprano Anna Netrebko, conducted by Placido Domingo, and Daniel Berenboim in Berlin. Vincent directed & choreographed the production of the musical CABARET at Bar Jeder-Vernunft, the longest running play in Berlin’s history. Vincent created iconic works for Madonna and Michael Jackson including directing and choreographing Madonna’s BLOND AMBITION TOUR as well as conceiving and choreographing the Marie Antoinette version of VOGUE. For Michael Jackson, with whom he worked for over 15 years, Vincent created the BAD TOUR as well as SMOOTH CRIMINAL, BLACK or WHITE, THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL and multiple other Jackson music videos and live performances, from the Grammy Awards to the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Some of the films he choreographed are THE BIRDCAGE for Mike Nichols, EVITA for Alan Parker, HOOK for Steven Spielberg.  He choreographed London’s West End production of LENNY for Sir Peter Hall, and LA Opera’s GRAND DUCHESS for Garry Marshall. As well as directing commercials and music videos, he has choreographed numerous Cleo winning spots for director Joe Pytka. Vincent also wrote, directed, and co-choreographed Cirque du Soleil’s, VIVA! ELVIS, which ran in Las Vegas for over 1,000 performances.



Entertainment personality, Karla Gordy Bristol is CEO of Bristol Entertainment, a host of the television talk show “Beverly Hills View”, and host and producer of “Karla Dawn LIVE”, a social media show. Her former television show focused on Health and Wellness, which she continues to highlight, as it’s very important to her. Karla interviews and dialogs with celebrities and acclaimed individuals, produces concerts, PSA’s and events and is a frequent emcee and host.

Karla’s career has included, being talent coordinator for corporate clients, booking major performers, roles on television, short film and DVD releases, reality TV and starring in a pilot. She’s emceed and/or been host for many popular industry award shows, galas and events. Karla executive produced ten televised short films, titled “Destination Beverly Hills”.

Karla is in her 12th year co-producing Friends of Fuller Strikefest. She’s passionate about helping others and has been a board member of the Ava’s Heart Foundation for four years. She’s honored to have received many awards, including, “Woman of The Year”. Years ago, Karla became a successful real estate agent, with popular sports and music entertainment clients, and is still licensed in Beverly Hills.

Carrying both her parents last names, Karla’s the proud daughter of Iris Gordy, a former Motown Records vice president, and the late Johnny Bristol, Grammy nominated songwriter, producer, and singer. She’s also the great-niece of Motown founder Berry Gordy.