On Friday, February 25th, local women from all walks of life will converge at the Cleveland Hilton Downtown for the American Heart Association’s annual Go Red for Women luncheon. “After one year of going digital due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we are thrilled to be safely back in person” says AHA Executive Director Valerie Hillow Gates.
The AHA’s signature women’s initiative, Go Red for Women, is a comprehensive platform designed to increase women’s heart health awareness and serve as a catalyst for change to improve the lives of women globally. It’s no longer just about wearing red; it’s no longer just about sharing heart health facts. It’s about all women making a commitment to stand together with Go Red and taking charge of their own heart health, as well as the health of those they can’t bear to live without. Making a commitment to your health isn’t something you have to do alone either, so grab a friend or a family member and Go Red today.
Women, especially Black and Hispanic women, are disproportionally impacted by heart disease and stroke and research shows heart attacks are on the rise in younger women. Yet younger generations of women, Gen Z and Millennials are less likely to be aware of their greatest health threat, including knowing the warning signs of heart attacks and strokes. That’s why it’s important for all women to take charge of their heart health and encourage others to do the same. Losing even one woman to cardiovascular disease is too many.
One local woman who steadfastly supports the Go Red for Women Movement is Cleveland’s Candice Monroe. At the age of 15, Candice was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy and told she would need a heart transplant to survive. On February 7, 2002 she was transplanted, and her heart has been thriving ever since. The continuous research and medical advancements for heart disease that the AHA funds have allowed Candice to live a normal and prosperous life. Being a cardiac patient is an ongoing journey but because of the research and medical advancements, she has a wonderful outlook on the future.
Candice has been volunteering with the AHA for about 12 years. She respects Go Red for Women so much because the movement aligns with her personal mission to be healthier and create a healthier community where our loved ones are educated about heart disease and preventative measures. “To live in a community free of losing loved ones due to heart disease would be a world I strive to live in,” says Candice. “20 years ago, there was a chance I wasn’t going to see my 16th birthday, but thankfully because of medical advancements, I am living a life of second chances my lifesaving transplant has allowed me to do.”
Candice wants all local women to know that anyone can get heart disease. “It is the leading killer of women, she says, “so even if you don’t have a family history of heart disease, you should still be aware of the signs of symptoms and educate yourself on preventative measures.”
You can learn more about Go Red for Women and get involved at www.heart.org/clevelandgored