PIQUA —“We’re going to beat this disease through prevention.”
Chairman Susan Curtis of this year’s “Go Red Go North” event began the campaign’s luncheon on Thursday afternoon by explaining what it was all about: saving lives.
The campaign focuses on advocating more research and swifter action in women’s health when it comes to heart disease and strokes.
“It’s not just a man’s disease,” Curtis said. She explained that one in three women will die from heart disease.
“Go Red” also promotes healthier lifestyles, such as exercising, eating healthy, and not smoking. According to Curtis, 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented through changes in lifestyle choices.
Many of the speakers spoke of incidents in their lives where a loved one or someone close to a loved one had been affected by heart disease or strokes, making the fight against this disease a personal one.
“My sister is a person who takes very good care of herself,” said Becky Rice of Premier Health at Upper Valley Medical Center. Rice explained that even though her sister took care of herself, she went into full cardiac arrest during one holiday.
“Never take (life) for granted,” Rice said. “Always tell your loved ones how much you love and care for them.”
Rice also encouraged the audience to be proactive about their health, taking the initiative to live a healthy lifestyle and becoming educated about heart disease.
“We need all of us to spread that word,” Rice said.
When the importance of CPR training and access to AEDs was brought up, the story that gripped the audience’s heart was when Georgiana Williams of the Dylan Williams Forever an All Star Foundation spoke about how she lost her 8-year-old son.
“In July 2013, our son Dylan was at an all-star baseball practice,” Williams said. “He was hit in the neck and chest area with a ball and collapsed immediately and went into cardiac arrest.” There were no AEDs were close by, Williams said.
They started a foundation in the boy’s honor with the mission of spreading awareness of AEDs and CPR training along with providing AEDs to groups and organizations with outdoor sporting events. It is a mission that they do together as a family, Williams said.
During the keynote address, speaker and author Kay Frances re-emphasized the importance of life by encouraging the crowd to stress less about “first-world problems” like traffic jams and technology and, instead, embrace humor.
“I kid a lot and I laugh a lot, not because I don’t take life seriously … but because humor is vital,” Frances said. “A light heart is a happy heart, and a happy heart is a healthy heart.”
Frances said that while negative emotions are part of the human experience, those emotions should be more like visitors rather than move into people’s lives as full-time residents.
“We simply have to decide to stress less,” Frances said. Frances then had the audience promise “to stress less from this point forward.”
“You know, humor is all around us,” Frances said. She mentioned her sister, who sometimes mixes up common phrases.
“We were playing Scrabble one time and she said, ‘I’ve got nothing, I am up a pole without a paddle,’” Frances said.
Frances also joked about technology and an abundance of modern-day products.
“Who made the Egyptians experts in sheets?” Frances said. Frances figured out that the answer was “mummies.” She added, “Those sheets last 5,000 years.”
Frances went on to sing excerpts of songs, mocking the lyrics. She also joked about how other people were the biggest stress in everybody’s lives.
“Do you know what the number one on-the-job stressor is?” France said. “It’s annoying coworkers … If you don’t know, it might be you.”
At the end of her speech, she encouraged everybody to enjoy their lives.
“It’s just life, and none of us gets out of here alive,” Frances said.
The event raised over $4,000 in proceeds for the American Heart Association. To donate or for more information about heart disease or CPR, visit www.heart.org.
Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall