Friday, May 8, 2015

Go Red For Women Luncheon

Yesterday was the culmination of the past three months of raising awareness for heart disease and strokes throughout Arkansas.  Ava Jane was selected as one of the American Heart Associations Survivors Gallery for 2015.  It was really neat getting to meet other heart patients and learning their stories of strength and survival.

The luncheon was very fun! There was a Purse-onality Auction at the beginning with many great handbags to bid on and cute Arkansas shaped chocolate treats to munch while we mingled.  Ava Jane ate about six of the heart shaped suckers that were out on one of the expo tables which she thoroughly enjoyed -- a sticky face and hands always means a happy girl!
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We had some fun in the photo booth, all of us wore crazy glasses.
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Each survivor was presented while their story was shared and it ended with Star Jones speaking candidly and humorously about her own struggle with heart disease and obesity.  She passionately spoke about the misconception of how we used to think that heart disease was "an old white dudes disease" but in fact it is not.  It's not only the #1 killer of Americans, it is the #1 killer of women and does not discriminate on race (though African American women are 50% more likely to experience cardiac problems.)  With its pervasive presence, heart disease is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined, it affects many!   All of us have loved ones--friends or family-- who have suffered from heart problems or defects.
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So yesterday, as I learned of yet another baby with a Congenital Heart Defect who has not even been born and as we've continued to hear the stories over the past months and years of those struggling with all kinds of heart problems, I am re-inspired to continue giving and raising much needed funds for research as well as awareness for heart related diseases and defects.

I loved Star's quote from the movie Shawshank Redemption, when she was thinking through her own experience, she said, "I needed to get busy living or get busy dying."  All of us, in one way or another can help prevent heart disease.  She said, "we as women get a lot of things done.  Whatever we set as our priority gets done.   If we would only make our own health a priority, change might occur and lives just might be saved."  If women aren't healthy, how can their families and those who mean the most to them be healthy?  We must commit to eating better, to having a regular exercise regimen and even begin listening to our bodies when something seems awry-- we really could help save lives if we would implement these simple things.  So, until there's no need for research, until no cardiac situations exist,  until no children are born with defects, we must be vigilant, we must continue to fight!  I'm thankful that God spared us Ava Jane and all these precious women who stood together as survivors.  And I'll forever be grateful to all the doctors and nurses that use their God given giftings to care for and help save the lives of people like these women each day!!
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