Hundreds of CNY women join the fight against heart disease and stroke


More than 550 local women and men showed that “Life is Why” we fight against heart disease and stroke by being a part of Thursday’s 11th Annual Go Red For Women Luncheon & Expo at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Liverpool. The campaign raised more than $235,000. Those funds will be used to fight disability and death caused by cardiovascular diseases and stroke through research, training, advocacy and community education. Heart disease is the number one killer of women.

The chairperson of the 2014 Go Red For Women Luncheon, Kathy Ruscitto, president and CEO of St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, has lead a year-round campaign to help raise awareness and funds in the fight against women’s greatest health threat. In her professional role with St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, Ruscitto sees lives being saved every day, but also sees opportunities to take a more proactive approach to improving lives through enhanced community wellness. Ruscitto says she is committed to spreading the message of heart health across all communities.

Theresa Lou Bowick, nurse and author of “Collard Green Curves,” gave the keynote address. Bowick shared her own story of battling a family history of heart disease, how she made positive changes to live a more heart-healthy lifestyle, and how others can do the same.

The program also included heart disease survivor Shalini Suryanarayana. She admits she ignored her symptoms at first, explaining them away as something else. Eventually, her loved ones pushed her to go to the hospital and get help. Now she understands that women especially need to pay attention to their bodies and resist the urge to ignore important warnings.

The morning’s Expo offered several opportunities for attendees. Women could get health screenings, in the M&T Bank Health Screenings area, flu shots at the Kinney Drugs Foundation Health Kiosks, learn important information about heart health, relax in the Wegmans Tranquility Suite, and take part in an interactive seminar on heart health. The seminar, sponsored by St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, featured keynote speaker Theresa Lou Bowick and focused on inspirational ways to fight the prevalence of heart disease in the African-American community.

Amy Robbins, of 93Q and Lisa Spitz, of CNY Central served as the emcees. They, and other speakers, shared lifesaving information about women’s health, and the impact the Go Red For Women movement is making.

Go Red For Women is nationally sponsored by Macy’s, and locally sponsored by St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center; Kinney Drugs Foundation; M&T Bank; Stickley Audi & Co.; Wegmans; and media sponsors 93Q; CNY Central; Syracuse Woman Magazine and Eagle Newspapers.

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