While there was a cheerful mood at the 4th annual Go For Red Lunch and Fashion Show Saturday in Carrollton, the highlight was when three Carroll County residents shared vivid accounts of how they nearly succumbed to heart-related illnesses.
Ernestine Hudgins, Debra McPherson, and Ida White encouraged attendees to monitor what they are doing to their bodies and to let their families and friends know what they are facing. Each testimony shared a happy ending but the stories differed slightly, with one woman battling cancer and heart disease at the same time, and another while on her hospital bed still finding the strength to push through a college class.
Dr. Charlie Rouse, president/CEO of West Georgia Cardiology in Carrollton, said that these real-life stories are evidence that people of any demographic, age or race can be affected. With February being National Heart Health Month, he said he wanted to bring the community together to be educated, informed but at the same time celebrate the lives of those who overcame their heart-related ailments.
Keynote speaker Dr. Anna Kalynch of the Piedmont Heart Institute Physicians Group provided attendees with tips on living healthier lifestyles and went into depth on the topic of coronary artery disease. She explained the importance of visiting a cardiologist, risk factors, knowing your body well enough to know when something isn’t right and why it is important to get tested.
Being in the South and having a diet that includes fried and fatty foods, Kalynch said that Georgia’s heart disease rate is among the highest in the country.
“It is amazing to me that in 2018 that about half of the women in America do not understand that heart disease is the number one killer of women,” she said. “They still think it’s breast cancer or something else. ... We really need to work on our hearts.”
Rouse thanked those who came out to bring awareness to heart-related sicknesses.
“Heart disease has no respect of individual, size, age, color, it doesn’t make a difference,” he said. “We are all impacted by this. We want to take heed to the warnings given to us so that we can live fuller, more productive, healthier, lives.”
Tanner Health System was one of the main sponsors of the event.