Sisters with heart

Terri and Grace Ferri are two sisters who have joined forces to make a difference in the world. Together, the siblings co-chaired the fundraising and outreach for the Go Red for Women Luncheon held this past June at the Hilton Westchester in Rye Brook to benefit the American Heart Association (AHA). The luncheon raised more than $350,000 for research and education aimed at fighting heart disease in women.

According to Terri, who lives in Eastchester and is branch manager of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s headquarters in Purchase, volunteering plays a big role in her life. “As I got older, getting involved in the community became much more important to me. I saw the opportunities that I was afforded and I really wanted to give back.”

Speaking about her involvement with the American Heart Association, Terri — the elder by three years — says she learned about the AHA and its Go Red event through her work at Morgan Stanley. “This nonprofit really resonated with me on two levels, because it’s an organization that emphasizes our health and being heart healthy and also focuses on women. I try to be an advocate for women, especially women in business.” 

Grace, who lives in New Rochelle and is the vice president of development and marketing for United Hebrew of New Rochelle, says, “As an adult, I started volunteering because I worked in the not-for-profit world and I knew the importance of helping others.  I’ve volunteered for many organizations, serving on committees and sharing my knowledge about how to gather information and grab people’s attention.”

Grace says that most of her career has been in health care and she sees that the caretakers of families are mostly female. “At my organization, nearly all of the people that provide care are women — the nurses and the aides that are on the front line. So when Terri introduced me to the American Heart Association and I saw how it was an organization that promoted women’s health, I knew I wanted to get involved.”

Speaking about co-chairing the event with her sister, Grace says, “I couldn’t have asked for a greater opportunity. I felt grateful to work with my sister  because I love her and we had the chance to feed our ideas off of one another. My heart was so full on the day of the event when I stood on the stage with Terri.”

In addition to deciding to co-chair the AHA Go Red event, the two sisters also made a commitment to take good care of themselves and each other. According to Terri, the AHA’s message this year has been to have “partners in health.” 

“It’s somebody who keeps you on track and Grace has always been that person for me,” she says.

This past January, the two decided to do a Boot Camp Challenge. It lasted six weeks with a rigid diet plan and workout routine. “It was really hard, but we got through it because we motivated each other to go to the class even when we didn’t want to. It was great to have someone to commiserate with,” Terri says.

Grace agrees and adds, “We realized at the end of the six weeks that the message that the AHA was sending out about having partners in health was exactly what we had experienced. You really do need somebody to keep you going, to get up and go to the gym when you may not really want to or to be mindful of taking care of yourself.”

Grace and Terri have always been very close, sharing many of the same friends and same interests and going to the same high school. Today, they talk every single day and continue going to the gym together before work.  They also see each other on weekends, whether it’s going out to dinner, shopping or visiting each other at home.

Terri says she and her sister are similar in the sense that they care very much about their families, protecting each other and keeping family ties tight (including their parents and another sister). As far as their differences, she notes, “While Grace is warmhearted, she’s much better at separating and seeing things more clearly during a very emotional time.”

Grace says, “I’m sillier than Terri is. She’s a little more serious. I’m more lighthearted. I like to laugh and joke and put things in perspective and try to encourage Terri not to sweat the small stuff.”  She adds, “I’ve always admired Terri since I was a young girl. I see what she does for Morgan Stanley and the volume of people that she manages. She is in a man’s world in her field and has shown herself to be extremely bright and extremely strong, yet still gives time to volunteer organizations. She’s very impressive.”

Terri is extremely proud of Grace as well. “What makes her so fantastic is not only having the brains and the wherewithal to run the programs at her work so well but also the size of her heart. If you go with her to Willow Towers (at United Hebrew), you see that every single resident knows her name and wants to kiss and hug her. They tell me how wonderful and beautiful she is.”

She adds, “Grace is loyal to her family and has the integrity that most people can only dream about. I think it makes her good at what she does, makes her a good wife, an awesome sister and daughter, a wonderful aunt and just a great person all around.”

The sisters continue to be involved in the AHA and it’s National Go Red Day, which will be held on Feb. 1, 2019. They are both also volunteering with the Italian American Forum, a nonprofit based in Bronxville that focuses on Italian culture. The two will be honored for their efforts by the forum’s partner, the Italian Welfare League, Nov. 3.

“We continue to try to be involved in the community as much as we can and touch as many nonprofits as possible so that the resources we come in contact with can help other people,” Terri says.  

She notes that, “A little donation goes a long way so it’s important to be in contact with other organizations that don’t have the robust funding like the American Heart Association and to recognize other places that need some assistance. If we can be the vehicle to do that, then it’s extremely gratifying.”

For more, visit GoRedForWomen.org.

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