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Go Red event highlights womens heart health
American Heart Association event raises funds, awareness to battle cardiac disease
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Mimi Collins speaks Friday during the 2016 Go Red for Women Wellness Expo and Luncheon at the First Baptist Church of Gainesville. - photo by Erin O. Smith

True to its name, the inaugural Go Red for Women gathering at First Baptist Gainesville brought out hundreds of women — and a handful of men  sporting all different shades of red.

Event Chair Mimi Collins said the expo and luncheon aimed to educate and raise awareness on the high risk of heart disease for women.

“The American Heart Association has put a special focus on women for a number of years with this initiative … and we’re hoping through events like this to raise awareness of the prevalence of heart disease in women,” Collins said.

Just how prevalent is it? American Heart Association Regional Director Julie Ann Hamilton said it is the No. 1 cause of death for women.

“There are so many women who don’t understand that,” Hamilton said. “Most people think the leading cause is cancer or something else, and heart disease kills more women than men every year.”

First Lady of Georgia Sandra Deal sought to drive the point home during her keynote speech at the gathering.

“Regular checkups are very important,” Deal said. “However, something can happen to you even if you’ve been to the doctor and gotten a clean bill of health. … You never know when heart disease will strike.”

Following the luncheon, a handful of event-themed paintings were auctioned off to raise money for the American Heart Association.

Go Red for Women also featured a wellness expo, with businesses and other exhibitors discussing educational opportunities and demonstrating fitness gear.

Kim Frisbie, a representative with Amerigroup, said she came out to “be able to get info to the community about what we do.”

She added that the gathering was “very well done. Beautifully decorated … and a great event for young and old alike.”

Sporting a red dress, Kimberly Goodloe, a heart valve ambassador with the American Heart Association, stood at the front door greeting guests. Being involved is important to Goodloe because she herself survived a difficult medical ordeal.

“I am honored to attend, because I am a survivor and I enjoy sharing my story,” Goodloe said, adding that she was born with an abnormal defect on her heart. She developed shortness of breath several years ago. Since then, she’s had heart surgery four times.

“Now, I’m on a mission to raise awareness,” Goodloe said. “Become your own health advocate, take one day at a time and do not suffer in silence.”

Carole Ann Daniel, a member of the executive leadership team, spoke during the luncheon.

“We all have to be educated about this,” Daniel told the crowd. “Think about it. Look around this room, because unfortunately many will be affected.”