Lehigh Valley & Berks female changemakers lead effort to fight No. 1 killer

The American Heart Association’s® Woman of Impact™ nominees champion heart health for Go Red for Women’s® fundraising and philanthropy initiative.

March is women’s history month and what better way to celebrate than to have seven female leaders fighting for the health and well-being of their community. These changemakers are joining the American Heart Association to fight their number one health threat, cardiovascular disease (CVD) through the Woman of Impact initiative. Woman of Impact is an extension of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women® movement, a comprehensive platform designed more than two decades ago to increase women’s heart health awareness and serve as a catalyst for change to improve the lives of women globally. This year’s Woman of Impact class will work until April 4 to raise funds to support research and education to better identify, diagnose, treat and prevent CVD in women.

Women experience unique life stages that can increase their risk of developing CVD over the course of their lifetime. In fact, CVD is the number one killer of new moms as the leading case of maternal mortality. The good news is, the majority of cardiovascular events can be prevented with lifestyle changes and education which is the foundation of the Association’s Go Red for Women movement.

“Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in women, claiming more lives than all cancers combined, so it’s vital for all women to take charge of their heart health and encourage others to do the same,” said Marisa Carrodo, Development Manager, American Heart Association.  Nearly 45% of women over age 20 are living with some form of CVD. I want to help encourage women to raise their voices and make sure all women know how to take steps now to protect our hearts later. Our woman of impact nominees are leading that fight for us” 

Woman of Impact, a nationwide initiative, launched in more than 100 cities across the country on National Wear Red Day, February 2. At the start of the campaign, hundreds of nominees nationwide embark on a nine-week journey to help transform the health of women through education and fundraising. Each week, nominees participate in activities designed to create a culture of wellness and advance health equity. Activities may include educational events, learning and spreading the word about CPR, getting physically active, recruiting women to participate in research and more. Nominees also raise critical funds for the Lehigh Valley and Berks Go Red for Women movement.

Lehigh Valley and Berks’ 2024 Woman of Impact Nominees are:

  • Andrea DeJesus – A List Salon
  • Ashley Zechman – Planet Home Lending
  • Emily Spina – Milly Décor Co
  • Hanna O’Reilly – Discover Lehigh Valley
  • Mollie Bennett – Blue Mountain
  • Natalie Sicola – OraSure Technologies
  • Tiffany Sondergaard – TS Brand Elevation

On April 4, one nominee will be named the Lehigh Valley and Berks 2024 Woman of Impact Winner. In addition to local market winners, one nominee from across the country will be named the National Woman of Impact Winner.

To support this year’s nominees, click here or to learn more about the American Heart Association, heart.org/Pennsylvania.