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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Go Red: Events will educate women about risks of heart disease

Friday, January 26, 2007

Marlene Jefferies buys an American Heart Association Go Red ticket from Lori Fowler.
SIKESTON -- Local women are being asked to "go red" next week during a nationwide event that aims to educate women about the risks of their No. 1 killer -- heart disease.

Sikeston's second Go Red for Women luncheon event will be from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Feb. 2 at the Sikeston United Methodist Church.

"Most women don't talk about heart disease, and so many women don't know it's the No. 1 killer. They think of it as a man's disease, but that's far from the truth," said Heather DeWitt, chief volunteer officer for the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women event in Sikeston.

And any woman can be affected by heart disease, DeWitt said.

"They (those affected by heart disease) can exercise daily, not smoke or be thin," DeWitt said.

Sixty-four percent of women who died suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms, according to the American Heart Association.

The national Go Red For Women began in February 2004 to raise awareness that heart disease is women's No. 1 killer. The grassroots campaign has since grown into a national movement as more women, men, celebrities, healthcare providers and politicians embrace and elevate the cause of women and heart disease.

The campaign provides women tips and information on healthy eating, exercise, and risk factor reduction, such as smoking cessation, weight maintenance, blood pressure control and blood cholesterol management.

The Sikeston event coincides with the national Go Red Day.

"We wanted the women to feel special and enjoy that hour or two hours and provide a nice atmosphere so they would want to come back every year while being educated, which is the top goal," DeWitt said about the event.

Last year close to 180 women attended the event, and DeWitt said event coordinators hope to see over 200 in attendance this year.

Although the event is geared toward women, men are welcome to attend, too, DeWitt said.

And it's preferred attendees wear red, but they don't have to, DeWitt said, adding last year many participated, including a woman who wore red pantyhose.

Go Red attendees are treated to a catered lunch and have the opportunity to browse through a health and wellness fair.

An extra 30 minutes was added to the event to allow attendees to visit the booths, and this year the number of booths doubled to 20, DeWitt said.

"We will still have health screenings and added more retail store booths. You can't actually buy items (at the booths), but women can browse while they get their health screenings," DeWitt said.

The location of the event has moved this year from Miner Baptist Church to United Methodist Church in Sikeston.

"We decided to have it at the Methodist Church because it's more centrally located, which is what women said they wanted," DeWitt said.

Dr. Colleen Hunter-Pearson of Sikeston will be the guest speaker. Health Facilities Rehab and Manage Care Inc. are presenting sponsors, and the Sikeston Jaycees are a special sponsor of the event, DeWitt noted.

Music will be performed by Sikeston High School students. This year local florists have donated centerpieces that will be given away as door prizes. There will also be a purse auction.

DeWitt attributed the increase of interest in this year's event to the success of last year's.

"They saw it was a nice event last year -- and it's such an important message," DeWitt said. "... (Last year) we had women who dealt with heart disease and told us their personal stories and how it impacted their lives, and that was nice to hear."

Proceeds will benefit the American Heart Association. Tickets are available at Area Properties, DeWitt Embroidery and FOCUS Bank in Sikeston. They are $25 each. For more information, call DeWitt at 471-1200 or 620-4495.