American Heart Association kicks off Go Red For Women campaign and shares inspiring survivor stories

 

Go Red For Women Corporate Chair Joanne Donaruma Wade and her husband John Wade (center) pose with members of the 2016 Go Red Survivor Class Mary Jane Tottey, Katie O’Neill, Mia Palmer, Lenora Murad, Christine Lamore Meyers, and Marion Davis. NOT PICTURED: Survivor class members Ondrea Grippe-Getz and Anne Shug-Williams.

Go Red For Women Corporate Chair Joanne Donaruma Wade and her husband John Wade (center) pose with members of the 2016 Go Red Survivor Class Mary Jane Tottey, Katie O’Neill, Mia Palmer, Lenora Murad, Christine Lamore Meyers, and Marion Davis. NOT PICTURED: Survivor class members Ondrea Grippe-Getz and Anne Shug-Williams.

Volunteers and community leaders gathered Monday night at Delmonico’s Italian Steakhouse to kick off the 2016 Go Red For Women campaign and meet the inaugural Go Red Survivor Class spokeswomen. The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement educates and connects Greater Utica area women with knowledge and tools to help them make lifesaving choices.

The Go Red For Women movement in Utica is a year-round effort to fight the number one killer of women – heart disease. Highlights of the campaign include National Wear Red Day® on February 5th, the efforts of the volunteers in the Circle of Red and Men Go Red groups, and the Have Faith in Heart multicultural outreach program. The campaign culminates with the Go Red For Women Luncheon on May 4th, 2016.

The 2016 Go Red For Women Luncheon will be led by Corporate Chair Joanne Donaruma Wade. Donaruma Wade recently retired from The Arc, Oneida-Lewis Chapter, NYSARC, where she served as the Director of the Employment Service Division.

“My community is why I am proud to be involved with Go Red For Women,” said Donaruma Wade. “When I retired, I knew I wanted to stay involved in my community. I took up the Go Red For Women mission after hearing stories from several heart disease and stroke survivors. I want to ensure as many women as possible can prevent heart disease before they become a statistic. I’m looking forward to leading a successful Go Red For Women campaign”

During the campaign kick-off, the American Heart Association also introduced the members of the first-ever Go Red Survivor Class, sponsored by Delmonico’s Steakhouse. This group of eight women will share their heart disease and stroke survival stories to help inspire other women to pay attention to their heart health. The Survivor Class members will be featured throughout the Go Red For Women campaign by sharing their stories at events, social media, and other Go Red For Women promotions. Survivor Class members include:

Marion Davis – Four years ago, Marion’s doctors told her she had one foot in the grave. She was diagnosed with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. She was put on several different medications. That is when Marion decided to make a change. She started eating better and exercising more, and now Marion has made enough healthy changes that she no longer has to be on all those medications.

Ondrea Grippe-Getz – At seven years old, Ondrea underwent open heart surgery to fix a congenital heart defect. She went to the doctor after people spotted her blue nails and lips, meaning her heart wasn’t circulating enough oxygen. Now, 29 years later, Ondrea is an active mother of two, a wife, and a business owner.

Christine Lamore Meyers – Christine spent decades thinking she suffered from panic attacks. Last year, doctors discovered her heart was actually stopping for 12 to 15 seconds! Now, Christine has a pacemaker to keep her heart beating.

Lenora Murad – Lenora was on medication for a mitral valve prolapse when something didn’t feel right. She went into the emergency room and ended up being told she was in congestive heart failure. A few days later she had open heart surgery to put in an artificial heart valve. Now she wants to share her story to prompt other women to get medical help immediately if they experience symptoms.

Katie O’Neill – Katie lost her father and brother to heart disease within one month of each other. After their deaths, she got checked out and was diagnosed with a genetic heart condition that can cause fatal heart arrhythmia. Now at age 28, she has an internal defibrillator to help ensure her heart beats correctly. Katie pays extra attention to her eating and exercise habits to keep her heart as healthy as she can.

Mia Palmer – Mia woke up one night five years ago with excruciating chest pain. She called 9-1-1 and was rushed to the hospital. Doctors told her she had suffered a heart attack and her main artery was 99% blocked. Mia was shocked that this could happen to her at just 44 years old. Since her heart attack, Mia has quit smoking and made healthy changes in her life, including exercising, eating a healthier diet, and keeping regular appointments with her cardiologist.

Anne Schug-Williams – The words “Mrs. Williams, you had a heart attacked” changed Anne’s life. Anne had a double bypass at age 44, and has multiple stents implanted. She says she has learned from her heart attack. She now lives a healthier lifestyle and appreciates the little things, like time with her family. Anne says it’s important for people to remember there is life after a diagnosis of heart disease.

Mary Jane Tottey – Mary Jane understands the impact family history can have on your heart. Her mother suffered from both heart disease and stroke. Her mother’s history, and her own mini-stroke at age 40, prompted Mary Jane to get a stress test. Doctors found a blockage in her aorta, and she had a stent put in that day. Now, at 70 years old, she wants all women to know their numbers, know their family history, pay attention to their bodies and get checked.

For more information on the Go Red For Women movement in the Greater Utica area and how to get involved, contact Go Red For Women Director Anne Sullivan at (315) 580-3961. Go Red For Women is nationally sponsored by Macy’s and locally sponsored by First Source Federal Credit Union; M&T Bank; Adirondack Bank; Mohawk Valley Health System; Belen Dental; AmeriCU Credit Union; the Arc Oneida-Lewis County, NYSARC; Par Technology; Revere Copper Products; and media sponsors New York Sash and Lite 98.7

 

 

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