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Monday, Feb. 2, 2015


American Heart Association gathers women to share message


The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women campaign will hold its annual luncheon and educational forum Feb. 19 at the Shreveport Convention Center. Registration and the Heart Healthy Wellness Fair begin at 10 a.m., Heart Health Educational Forum will open at 10:30 a.m., and the luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m.

According to the American Heart Association, some eight million women in the United States are living with heart disease. Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease, and one in three dies from cardiovascular disease.

“This is one of our two events we do throughout the year to raise awareness, to educate and to raise critical funding for our local efforts. The Go Red For Women movement is 11-years-old nationally,” Sarah Baker, regional director for the NWLA American Heart Association, said. “What they realized is that cardiovascular disease in women was on the rise, and now it kills more women than men. It’s really because women put everyone else first; their husband, children, jobs – they put themselves last and can ignore symptoms,” she said.

Attendees can expect a variety of perks at this year’s Go Red For Women luncheon.

“This luncheon is a culmination of our efforts for the year – we come together and have an educational forum before the luncheon that attendees can come to. This year we have a panel of women’s healthcare providers – an OB/GYN, a couple of cardiologists, a cardiovascular surgeon – the attendees can come and have an open question and answer session with them in a more intimate setting,” Baker said.

“We also have the CHRISTUS Health Fair before the luncheon where attendees can get free testing – blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol levels, as well as your waist circumference which can tell you your risk factor for heart disease. You can also have your BMI tested and also a consultation with a doctor. It’s a great thing for the attendees who may not take time out of their day to have these things done – we are giving it to them for free as part of their ticket.”

The keynote speaker this year is Georgeanna Johnson, who was a participant on ABC’s “Extreme Weight Loss.”

“She knew she had a risk of heart disease, and so she lost all the weight and has dramatically reduced her risk. She wasn’t someone who had heart disease, but she would have eventually,” Baker said.

“I think that’s really important for this community – Louisiana is the most unhealthy state in the nation. Heart disease is 80 percent preventable, and so if we can get in front of the influential leaders of the community and educate them, they can take it back to the workplace. I felt like it was important for her to share her story to empower our attendees to make a change.”

Also featured will be Sonya Edelen, a cardiac nurse at CHRISTUS Health Shreveport-Bossier who was over 300 pounds and had a family history of heart disease.

“She knew she was a ticking time bomb,” Baker said. “Over the course of the year she lost 175 pounds on her own. She and Georgeanna will be on the stage together because their stories are exactly the same except one had a TV show to help her and one didn’t. I want people to see her and see that they can do it and change their fate.”

Baker said donating to the American Heart Association is important for many reasons.

“When you support the heart association, you support research. We are such a sciencebased organization that we take all we can and pour it into research and education,” Baker said.

Tickets for the luncheon are $100 and tables begin at $1,500. Purchase tickets online at www.nwlagored.heart.org or contact Baker at 347-3122.

Attendees are encouraged to wear red to the event.


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