Hundreds of people celebrated the strength of women in the fight against heart disease on Thursday. The Syracuse Go Red for Women Luncheon brought nearly 600 attendees to the Oncenter Convention Center to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.
The Go Red for Women Luncheon is the culmination of the year-round Go Red movement. The event, along with year-round activities, raised a record total of more than $425,000. 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 not just a man’s disease. It is the number one killer of women. One in three women dies of heart disease and stroke. That’s more than all forms of cancer combined. Go Red for Women aims to educate women about their health, so we can change these statistics.
The chairwoman of the 2019 Go Red for Women Luncheon, Bea Gonzalez, Vice President for Community Engagement and Special Assistant to the Chancellor at Syracuse University, has spent the last year helping to raise awareness and funds in the fight against women’s greatest health threat. “Our goal today is that you help us break the silence and change the tide about the devastating impact heart disease is having on our families, our communities and on women in particular,” said Gonzalez. “One in three. That’s the price women pay for cardiovascular disease. One in three women will die of cardiovascular disease. That’s a third of our mothers, sisters and friends. It’s time to change this fact.”
The afternoon’s keynote speaker was world-renowned supermodel Emme. As a lead influencer for body positivity and self-esteem, she spoke to the attendees about the importance of honoring and listening to our bodies. She shared her own experiences, saying, “I learned if I made a small lifestyle shift in walking more, eating fresher foods and reducing stress, can greatly reduce my risk of CVD by 80%, why wouldn’t I?”
More than a dozen red dress fashions designed by Syracuse University students were displayed around the Oncenter. The designs are part of the Fashion Without Limits program, founded by Emme. The initiative works with the Syracuse University School of Design, Fashion program to teach young designers an inclusive fashion education to design clothes for all women sizes 0-24+, celebrating women’s bodies including 100 million women above size 12 in the US alone. Emme is a 1985 graduate of Syracuse University.
Before the luncheon program, the Festival of Red offered several opportunities for attendees. Women could get a flu shot, learn their numbers with free health screenings, have fun with social media at the Selfie Station, and learn important heart health information.
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 CVS Health, and locally sponsored by Life is Why sponsor St. Joseph’s Health; Syracuse University; Wellcare; Bristol-Myers Squibb; Kinney Drugs Foundation; Stickley, Audi & Co.; Wegmans; 93Q; NBC3/CBS5/CW6 and CNYCentral.com; Eagle Newspapers; and Syracuse Woman Magazine.