PORTLAND, Maine — The ninth annual Go Red For Women Luncheon held on March 11, in Portland, sold out for the first time and raised a record $261,000 to advance the American Heart Association’s lifesaving education, research and public health efforts in Maine.
Sara Burns, CMP’s president and CEO, served as this year’s Go Red Luncheon chairwoman and had set a goal of $250,000. Last year, this event raised just more than $220,000.
This fun and educational event aims to inform women about their risk of cardiovascular disease — the no. 1 killer of women — and how to prevent it through guest speakers, screenings and workshops. The lunchtime speaking program, emceed by News 8 Anchor Tracy Sabol, included a returning keynote comedian Kelly MacFarland, a Maine native who has made numerous national television appearances and was a contestant on season one of the hit reality series, The Biggest Loser.
Burns presented Lynn Goldfarb, the AHA’s Circle of Red Founder, with a 2014 Crystal Heart Award. In addition to her commitment to several local non-profit organizations, Goldfarb is also credited with raising over $75,000 through the AHA’s Circle of Red group of donors who contribute $1,000 or more.
Mirle A. Kellett Jr., MD, Chief, Department of Cardiac Services, Maine Medical Center, was also a 2014 Crystal Heart Honoree. MaineHealth CEO Bill Caron presented Dr. Kellett with this award for improving cardiac care in Maine by implementing lifesaving protocols to ensure prompt and effective treatment of heart attack patients.
In addition to raising funds to prevent and treat heart disease and stroke, the event also raises awareness and helps educate women about their personal risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The Maine Heart Center offered attendees Healthy Heart Screenings to check for heart disease risk factors such as cholesterol and blood pressure. Guest had the opportunity to learn Hands-Only CPR and had a choice of two additional breakout sessions.
Mercy Cardiologist Dr. Craig Brett of Mercy Hospital conducted a workshop entitled, “Menopause and the Cardiovascular System,” which addressed the heart-related physiologic changes that happen around menopause and how hormone replacement therapy affects cardiovascular risk. Martin’s Point Nurse Practitioner Erin Greenlaw conducted a workshop entitled, “Important Numbers to Know for a Healthy Heart” to help guests understand biometric numbers and how they relate to heart health. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, the Maine Goes Red statewide sponsor, hosted a photo booth area and Macy’s, the event’s national sponsor, conducted bra fittings for guests.
Falmouth resident Pat Kirby shared her story and conducted the event’s “Open Your Heart” Appeal which raised $18,500. “Because ofGo Red For Women —with its increased emphasis on education, awareness, and research — 34% fewer women die each year from heart disease. Butt 1,100 women still die each day from this disease and these women are our friends, sisters, wives, mothers, daughters and granddaughters,” said Kirby.
For the fourth consecutive year, the luncheon menu was designed by students at the Westbrook Culinary Arts Program, who researched, tested, and created three different heart-healthy meals. AHA volunteers were invited to attend a tasting event back in February and voted to select their favorite meal.
According to the AHA, heart disease is the leading cause of death for American women. However, eighty percent of cardiac events in women could be prevented if women make the right choices for their hearts, involving diet, exercise and abstinence from smoking. The AHA’s Go Red movement is teaching women across the country how to make small – yet life-saving – choices.
The Go Red Luncheon is the major annual event for the Go Red For Women awareness campaign in Maine. The Go Red For Women campaign is sponsored nationally by Macy’s and locally by the statewide Maine Goes Red sponsor, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.
Local Go Red Luncheon sponsors include: MaineHealth; Maine Heart Center; Martin’s Point Health Care; and Mercy Hospital. Media sponsors include The Forecaster, WMTW-TV, Home of News 8; and WPOR FM.
For more information about the local AHA, please visit:www.heart.org/maine, call (207) 879-5700, “like” them on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/americanheartmaine, and follow them on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/AmerHeartME.