Tuesday night Women’s Day changed, and possibly saved, my Life, when I was invited to cover their 7th Annual Red Dress Awards. Sponsored by Campbell Soup Company, the evening celebrated the collaboration with Project Runway’s Tim Gunn to help make heart health fashionable. Gunn encouraged people to design a Campbell Red Dress inspired by their heart health hero to raise awareness and funds for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement. All proceeds from the evening went to the Larry King Cardiac Foundation. Established in 1988 by Larry King, the Foundation provides funding for life saving cardiac procedures for individuals who, due to limited means and no insurance would be otherwise unable to receive lifesaving treatment.
In my youth and up until now, I have put my ticker through hell without really thinking about it. I smoked until two years ago and, although my diet was always healthy, I drank more than I should’ve until I quit eight weeks ago. Coupled with tons of stress and a pretty sedentary lifestyle, I was a recipe for a future heart disaster! I had no idea the stress that my bad habits may have placed on my heart until I heard some of the speakers at the event.
I did not know that heart disease is the number one killer of American women with 450,000 women, approximately one a minute, succumbing to it every year! In addition, I was unaware of the gravity of the situation for women in terms of personal knowledge of the disease and the lack of accessibility to health care professionals, who are schooled in the unique causes and nature of heart disease in women. Today I make a vow to get more serious about my own heart health and to educate other women, as well. I feel that it is mostly prevention that is needed. With many of us still uninsured, I would love to see clinics that can test the unisureds hearts.
The evening itself was a beautiful sea of red with red and white decor and the majority of the guests adorned in red dresses. Our mistress of ceremonies for the evening was the lovely Sherri Shephard with Woman’s Day Editor-In-Chief Elizabeth Mayhew and Howard’s wife, Beth Stern acting as co-hostesses. Tim Gunn gave a moving speech and appealed to us to take better care of our hearts through diet and exercise. Musical performances by master of soul seduction, Anthony Hamilton and the always completely awe inspiring, Mary J Blige rounded out the ceremony. Mary always brings the house down and I felt like she literally gave us her heart!
The awards ceremony was followed by a party that featured a photo booth for guests that projected the pictures on the wall and also allowed for a photographic souvenir of the evening. One note to the wonderful organizers: while I love sliders and sweet potato fries, after a lesson in heart health, I’m not sure they were the best food to serve the guests. Next year, it may be better to serve more heart healthy food to kick start and support the guests resolve.
For affordable heart screening info: http://www.lifelinescreening.com/[salbumphotos=99,72,6,n,n,picasa_order]