Go Red For Women

By: Catrina Leone


Another reason to go red in Cleveland! Red is a very enticing color as is, so imagine being in a room with a sea of it, I was “seeing red”, in a good way of course! Last Friday, 1,000 ladies and men gathered in the new Convention center for the “Go Red for Women” 11th annual event and luncheon. I had the honor and privilege to be there, along with Ciarra Nelson, TV20 reporter. It was such a great atmosphere, I could literally feel the warmth radiating from the crowd. It meant a lot to me more so as well, because I have a heart defect and hearing the different stories of survival and strength was heart-warming in and of itself.

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This event raised $900,000. Last year it raised $847,000, and ranked second in the amount brought in out of more than 200 Go Red for Women events across the country. Go Red For Women, an American Heart Association event, is nationally sponsored by Macy’s and Merck pharmaceutical company. Local sponsors are University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular InstituteKeyBank, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Dealer Tire, HealthSpan and Parker Hannifin Corp.

The expo combines need-to-know information with a dash of fun and, this year, a sliver of style, thanks to Virginia Marti College of Art and Design students who put on a fashion show of their own work.

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As for heart-health statistics, the audience learned that:

1. Heart disease is the number one killer of women aged 20 and older, and the disease kills about one woman every minute.

2. More women die of cardiovascular diseases than the next five causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer.

3. While those statistics are startling, 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented if women make the right choices for their hearts about diet, exercise and abstaining from smoking.

Monica Robins, senior health correspondent at Channel 3 also spoke the statistics when it comes to this disease,  stating that, “The number of women who are aware that heart disease is their number one killer has increased by 23 percent,” Robins told the audience. “Thirty-four percent fewer women are dying each year of heart disease, which translates to 330 fewer women dying every day.”

Two of the three featured speakers, 31-year-old Bridget Perez of Hudson and Dr. Guilherme Oliveira, brought home the message that there can be a connection between cancer and heart disease. Oliveira is director of the Advanced Heart Failure Center and Onco-Cardiology program at University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute.

Perez became a patient of Oliveira’s after she developed heart problems while being treated with chemotherapy and medication for cancer. The program that Oliveira assesses, monitors and treats patients undergoing chemotherapy or chest radiation who may develop cardiac dysfunction.

Women and heart disease were not the only highlights of the luncheon. Eli Thomas of Lakewood was there to get everyone more involved with CPR. He encouraged a proposal to have CPR training become a graduation requirement in high schools.

“In Ohio and in many states across the county, the American Heart Association is working to increase the number of individuals that are trained in lifesaving CPR,” Thomas told the audience. “Making CPR a graduation requirement would effectively train more 123,000 Ohioans each year.”

The exhibit had so much to offer the audience, including heart-health information, free screenings provided by University Hospitals, a healthy cooking demonstration by Whole Foods, and a Macy’s Estee Lauder kiosk where women could get their lips touched up — of course, in red.

This event was very touching to me, I am so thankful I got to be apart of it. The more knowledge we can spread, the more people come together to fight for the same cause. It filled my heart with hope for the women suffering with this disease, tomorrow is a new day, never give up, you have so many “Red” supporters behind you! Stay tuned to TV20, as this will run in our news this week, along with many other stories circling Cleveland!

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