PIQUA — Maintaining a sense of humor is crucial to managing stress levels, which — along with a healthy diet, exercise and other proactive steps — helps lower one’s risk of stroke and heart disease.
“A happy heart is a healthy heart,” said Kay Frances, the keynote speaker at the Go Red Goes North wellness event Thursday at Fort Piqua Plaza. “Find friends of all ages … find people who inspire you.”
Frances, known as “America’s Funniest Stressbuster,” regaled the audience with observational and motivational humor during the annual American Heart Association event, which promotes women’s heart health. In a brief serious moment, the Wilmington-based comedian shared that all four of her grandparents succumbed to heart disease by age 60.
Area resident Starr Gephart also spoke, telling the harrowing story of how heart disease nearly claimed her life. Taking the audience on a journey from open-heart surgery and subsequent cardiac arrest to endocarditis (infection of the heart’s inner lining) and other often-fatal health woes, Gephart said, “I appreciate every new season and every new day.”
Trish Wackler, chief nursing officer at Upper Valley Medical Center/Premier Health, told how UVMC’s new cardiac catheterization laboratory saved the life of a patient who was brought in within 12 hours of the lab opening last month. As a cardiac nurse for 15 years, she said, “I have seen both great outcomes … and difficult outcomes,” noting that one of those “great outcomes” includes her own mother’s survival of a heart attack.
Stories like these are why the Go Red movement — the Piqua event is one of nearly 200 held across the country — endeavors to combat stroke and heart disease, the leading killer of women in the U.S.
Thursday’s event included a heart-healthy lunch and raised $4,300 to help propel the movement.
According to American Heart Association statistics, cardiovascular diseases claim the life of a woman about every 80 seconds.
But the news is good: significant strides are being made in the detection and treatment of cardiovascular disease, so much so that about 293 fewer women die of heart disease and stroke each day, said Edison State Community College President Dr. Doreen Larson, chairperson for Go Red Goes North.
The date for the 2019 Go Red Goes North event has already been set for Sept. 5.
For more information about the Go Red movement, visit GoRedForWomen.org.
Reach Belinda M. Paschal at email@example.com or (937) 451-3341