Saturday, February 19, 2011

First Half of Heart Month was a ... WOW!

Hello friends of Go Red For Women!

Two weeks have gone by since “National Wear Red” day and I have to say that the Metro Detroit area has been rockin’ red ever since. I hope that the rest of this month is as fruitful in getting the all-important message out...Heart Disease is the number 1 killer of women, 80% is preventable and it’s time to take action to lessen its impact on all of the lovely ladies in our lives!

I am going to play catch up in this blog post, as a great deal has happened in the past 2 weeks! I had the privilege of speaking to the employees at the ITC Company in Novi on National Go Red day, Feb 4th. At their annual luncheon I told my heart story and Dr. Kavitha Chinnaiyan from Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital also spoke. She brought us all up to date on the rising numbers of women being affected by Heart Disease and how we can change these ever-increasing numbers. She was wonderful and extremely informative. I am very concerned when I hear that the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranks the State of Michigan number one among all states in the country with the highest cholesterol at 38.6 % of its adult population. Michigan also has one of the highest numbers of obesity, nationally. I myself wasn’t aware of this and this information makes the mission of change all that more important. Later the same day I spent the evening at a fundraiser “Wear Red happy hour” at the Black Finn in Royal Oak. I had a chance to meet several new people and enjoyed old friends and family! Thank you Black Finn for all of the wonderful hors d'oeuvres you donated for our fundraiser!!

The following week, on Feb. 9th, I was invited to speak at the annual “Go Blue, Go Red” Luncheon held at the U of M Dearborn Campus. The wonderful staff at U of M has an annual fundraiser, giving out beautiful baskets, 50/50 drawing , and many prizes! The models in the fashion show there were all staff members, Professors and all were in good humor. I loved speaking to a sea of red when I looked out into the audience! Thank you U of M Dearborn!

My agenda the rest of the week was very full. Friday, the 11th I spoke to many GM employees at the Renaissance Center. The Southfield AHA staff set up a beautiful area in the Ren Cen’s Wintergarden for employees to come down for lunch and listen to our message, our mission. The response was great, and successful. Many of them took additional information with them in the form of brochures and even had blood pressure screening done! The following day, the 12th, I was asked to drop the game-starting puck for the Plymouth Whalers hockey team, at the Compuware Ice Arena in Plymouth. I dropped the puck with a young hockey player Tyler Seigen. He is a newly signed NFL player for the Boston Briens, who was a Plymouth Whaler not so long ago. One of the fundraisers at the game was called “Chuck the Puck”. I had never heard of this before and was pleasantly surprised to find out that soft spongy pucks are purchased to toss on the ice after the 2nd period. Several of the pucks are then picked up and prizes are won! Interested parties bought 6 pucks for $5 or one for $1. It proved to be a very delightful way to raise funds for the AHA. When the horn blew after the 2nd period hundreds of pucks flew through the air onto the ice!!! Thank goodness they were only sponge inside! Mine never made it to the ice, as I have a pretty weak throw! There were also several tables of literature to hand out, a table where children colored to win prizes, tattoos and stickers were also given out. I had a wonderful time handing out this literature because it gave me an opportunity to converse with many ladies and gentlemen about our mission. It was a very fun evening! Thank you to the wonderful Plymouth Whaler organization!!

The following day, Sunday the 13th I attended “Zumba for the Heart” at Body Language Fitness and Yoga Center in Commerce, where an hour presentation by Andrea von Behren RD taught us “ How to make healthy choices while grocery shopping!” This was then followed by a full hour of intense Zumba, which kicked know what! This was my first experience with Zumba. This particular class was by no means a 100 level, but more like a 700 level class. If you want to get in shape quickly and stay in shape, this is certainly the thing for you. It mingles dance and exercise moves together. This fast paced and often times intense aerobic movement is set to, rap, rock and reggie, music. After this intense work out for an hour we spent the next hour recovering with food and drink while sharing heart healthy information with each other.

Just prior to the beginning of the Zumba evening, we were all pleasantly surprised when the Detroit Free Press arrived to take pictures of our fundraising event! Battling the #1 killer of women, isn’t for the faint of heart or prideful. News coverage of these events is extremely helpful in getting the AHA’s message out and quickly becomes a very humbling experience when one (that would be me) looks ridiculous sucking in air! This kind of experience happens in this line of work and is well worth the fight for team “Life”! Thank you Body Language Fitness and to the Detroit Free Press for covering several of our AHA GRFW events!

The most recent GRFW event was just this pass Tuesday evening, Feb 15th,, at the Huntington Woods Library, viewing “Go Red For Women Presents; Speak Up To Saves Lives” and the unveiling of the “Red Dress Tour”, sponsored by Deloitte and Designed by the Talented students of the International Academy of Design -Technology of Detroit. The local AHA gals again set up a beautiful event, with delicious food, donated by Buca di Beppo and again a lot of informative literature available to hand out. We had the privilege of having Dr. Pam Marcovitz, Director of the Ministrelli Women’s Heart Center speak to all the lovely Huntington Woods ladies and I too shared my story. It was a fantastic evening of sharing information, food and company! Several years ago I worked at the local Huntington Woods Lutheran Preschool. I worked for 8 years there until my husband’s work relocation to NY. I have grown to love this community and have made many lifetime friends! I was so happy to see so many come out to learn about how Heart Disease is affecting women today and helping in our mission to spread the word.

The next big upcoming event, I will be involved in ,is next week February 24th. It is the “Detroit Go Red For Women Luncheon” held annually. This year it will be held at the MGM Grand, Detroit. It is locally presented by Toyota and Quicken Loans and nationally presented by Macy’s and Merck. If at all possible come join in the celebration with over 700 of southeast Michigan’s most prominent female leaders from corporate, medical, educational and social communities to raise awareness and funds for meritorious research specific to women and heart disease. Registration, health screenings and exhibits, educational sessions and silent auction, Estee Lauder “Red –Lipstick” station, shutter booth, massages and more start at 9 AM. The “Red Dress Fashion Show” and a heart healthy lunch will start at 12:00 noon. I, with our Executive Leadership Team, will be learning how to walk down the runway this Monday evening in anticipation of the fashion show! If you’re interested in attending please contact Shelley Rusinek , AHA Southfield contact # 249-936-5807, tickets are $175.00. As you can see it has been a busy few weeks and there have been many events I haven’t attended. Please visit the Southfield AHA web sight for events specifically in your area!

I want to thank everyone I have had the privilege to work with at our local Southfield AHA office ( Shelly, Alicia, Melissa, Dana, Heather, Kathy and many more). They have facilitated most of the “February Heart Month” events in the Metro Detroit area and many of these allowed me to share my story. It is so rewarding to touch others lives in this way. I have met so many ladies affected by Heart Disease personally or family members. The common thread I have felt these past weeks, that connects all of these events together, is the necessity to spread “awareness” of this Disease. Awareness is imperative first, and then we can tackle the need to empower women to take action and control of their heart health. So many women these past weeks have told me that they had no idea that Heart Disease is the number one killer of women, this has to change. Currently 50% of women do not know this still! Ladies we must not only pass this information on but also encourage everyone we do pass it to, to then pass it on to others. The AHA asks that each of us tell 5 women and then they tell 5 women and so on...that heart disease is the number 1 killer and is 80% preventable with heart healthy life style changes! This is wonderful news. In doing this we can make a huge difference and save many mothers, grandmothers, sisters, friends, and daughters lives. Please join me in this effort...our lives depend on it!

Sincerely and from the heart

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