Sunday, February 27, 2011

8th Annual Detroit Metro “Go Red For Women” Luncheon was Incredible!

Happy Sunday AHA / GRFW supporters and bloggers!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the February 24th 2011 “8th Annual Go Red For Women Luncheon” at the MGM Grand, Detroit. It was a fabulous event for the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement and certainly all involved!

The MGM Grand Hotel is absolutely magnificent. The beautiful chandeliers, furnishings, and overall richness of this hotel lent itself to be the perfect place for the AHA to have this luncheon. The staff was polite and diligent in making the day a success. From the time I dropped my car off at the valet, to picking it up at the end, I can honestly say the staff out did themselves. What a wonderful group of individuals!! This is a Gem for the City of Detroit!

The event started promptly at 9am with registration, a Silent Auction and numerous exhibits. From 9:30 to 11:45 there were “Educational Breakout Sessions” being held in adjacent conference rooms within the same area as the Ballroom. These educational sessions made it possible for attendees to listen and talk to local Cardiologists, physiologists, dietitians and many medical professionals about Heart Disease. From 12:00 to 2:00 a delicious heart healthy lunch was served while watching the Fashion show and listening to guest speakers. The Fashion show featured all of the “ My Life Check” participants, Linda Blair VP of ITC Holdings in Novi, and Cardiologists, Dr. Joanne Crawford from St. John Providence Health Systems and Dr. Kavitha Chinnaiyan of Beaumont. Our own 2011 GRFW Executive Leadership Team, and guest speakers (heart survivors) Susie Dubin and myself also strutted down the runway! Beautiful red dresses designed by five students from the International Academy of Design and Technology in Troy were also modeled. Deloitte sponsors the “GRFW Miniature Red Dresses” that travels the Detroit Metro area for viewing. Deena Centofanti, news and medical anchor for channel 2 news, was our MC and Frankie Darcell, radio personality from MIX 92.3 was the Fashion Show presenter and speaker. Both of these ladies did a wonderful job and added so much personality to the event!

The “My Life Check Makeover” involved eight local women who made it their mission to get heart-healthy. The American Heart Association, St John Providence Health System and Beaumont Hospitals selected them. The makeover was based on the AHA’s newest on-line tool: This online tool was designed by the AHA to help people adopt healthier lifestyle choices. With the help of the healthcare experts from both of the hospitals, evaluating and providing direction for 12 weeks, these ladies were able to make changes in their lifestyles to that of a Heart Healthy one! Congratulations to Melissa Ely, Janice Ford, Sandy kovach, Cheryl Campbell, Cheryl Kuzmanovich, Deena Baubie Kim Pratt, and Laurie Tikkanen !! You ladies are not only healthier but also look marvelous!!

Shortly after the “My Life Check” results, we all watched a short video on the “Power of Woman (all inspiring) and then made personal donations to the AHA. Our donations will fund research and education that will help save lives. Macy’s VP Manager at Lakeside Mall, JoAnne Gunn, shared with us Macy’s commitment to the movement and presented everyone in attendance with a $10 gift certificate. A $250 gift card was presented to a lady who had a gold star on the bottom of her bag that held the $10 card. This is Macy’s 7th year as a National sponsor of the American Heart Association’s GRFW campaign. Since 2004, Macy’s nationally has raised $21 million for Go Red. This is absolutely incredible and ladies please remember this when you’re out shopping. Please frequent Macy’s as they are a huge reason Go Red has been able to thrive and bring awareness and education to women about heart disease over the years!!

General Motors is another of our large supporters. Dr. Jamie Meys who is the Manager at GM Performance Parts, took the stage to tell everyone that on January 21st GM auctioned the first powerful small-block V8 engine in Scottsdale, Arizona. This sold for $67,000, which was donated, to the Detroit Go Red For Women Campaign! Thank you GM!!

Also, a thank you to our other National supporter, Merck who partners with Macy’s to raise millions of dollars in support of the cause. I had the privilege of meeting the CEO’s, Presidents and several VP’s this past September (of both Macy’s and Merck), in NYC at the Premier of the NBC special, “Speak Up To Save Lives”. These two National supporters make it possible for Go Red For Women to thrive and make awareness and education available for women all over the US . Thank you so very much! Thank you also to the additional local supporterers, Toyota, Quicken Loans, St John Providence Health System, Beaumont Hospitals, ITC Holdings Corp, American Axle, Cargill, Arvin Meritor, Deloitte and Federal- Mogul Corporation. Also thank you wonderful Donors like Dr. JoAnne Crawford, Dr. Pam Marcovitz, Barbara Allushuski, and The Gambino Girls, Virgina Bova and Vita Harter for the generous gifts to GRFW.

The GRFW Executive Team this year is fabulous. I have been amazed at how professional and graceful all of the ladies are and I would like to thank Deborah Greenman Arlin, managing counsel for Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing, North America and Paula Silver, Vice President of Communications for Quicken Loans. Both of these ladies are part of this Executive Leadership Team and have joined forces to Co –Chair this beautiful Luncheon and lead locally the Go Red initiative this year! Thank you ladies!!

The Media also has been wonderful in getting the information out about the Luncheon and informing ladies in the Metro Detroit Area, that Heart Disease in the #1 Killer of Women and 80% preventable with heart healthy lifestyles! Thank you Fox 2 News, MIX 92.3, Fresh 100.3 , Corp! Magazine as well as HOUR Magazine! A big thank you to the Local Tribune, Huntington Woods, Berkley Patch, for local coverage or our events and a special thank you to the Detroit Free Press and Patricia Anstett, their medical writer for her wonderful segment on Women and Heart Disease, last Sunday February 20th. Your wonderful article and photos by Kathleen Galligan will raise much awareness to the women in the Metro Detroit Area about Heart Disease. You ladies did a fantastic job and I am sure it will help to save lives.

There is one more group of ladies I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart. The volunteer women who have been at several of February’s events including this luncheon. They come early for set up and stay late for take down. Their countless hours are given freely without reserve. You ladies are exactly who I talk about when I speak of the internal power of women. You give so graciously of your time and efforts for the cause and I thank you so much. I too am a volunteer. I have been personally affected by Heart Disease since a young girl of 12. For whatever reason, you have chosen the AHA, GRFW movement to donate your gifts of time and energy to, I thank you sincerely.

I also want to again thank the AHA/ GRFW for allowing me to share my personal story nationally as well as locally. It touched my heart deeply when I looked out at the sea of red at this luncheon. I am reminded again and again that I am not alone in this Disease and I find comfort in each and every one of you. I have grown very fond of the AHA/ GRFW and all it encompasses and I care deeply about the wonderful staff, nationally as well as locally (you wonderful ladies in Southfield …you know who you all are) and the volunteers, donors, corporate supporters and everyone that makes it tick. Thank you all for what you do.

In closing, all of us shared a common purpose this past Thursday, February 24th 2011, as well as the entire month of February, Heart Month. As this month comes to a close let us all be reminded that the battle to lessen the strangle hold Heart Disease has on women is an every day, monthly, yearly endeavor. The way to lessen this disease in women is through funding, research and education that will help save lives. During these difficult economic times please remember that the gift of life is the greatest of all and to please continue to support this cause in anyway, whether it’s dollars or that of your time. Please consider being a supporter of the AHA’s GRFW movement if you are not already. Together we women are a force to be reckoned with and together we can help to save the lives of our mothers, daughters, grandmothers, sisters…ourselves …our lives truly depend on it.

Sincerely and from the heart,

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