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"Go Red for Women" sees increased interest in heart health

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Heart survivor Susan Ydstie models a dress during the Go Red for Women luncheon at the Mayo Civic Center.

A national movement to end heart disease beat strong in Rochester for the annual "Go Red for Women" event Thursday.

The "Rochester Go Red for Women" luncheon took place at the Mayo Civic Center's north lobby and auditorium.

Around 420 attendees attended the event—which was sold out—and indicated an increase from 360 people buying tickets during last year's event. From the ticket sales,"Go Red for Women" raised $63,000 for heart disease research, which is an increase from the approximate $50,000 from 2015.

Since March, Sara Clausen, regional director for the American Heart Association, and an executive team of 25 women started planning for the "Go Red for Women." This year's approach in changing the location to the Mayo Civic Center may have contributed to the increased number in attendees, as well as the inclusion of an expert panel to discuss heart health.

Changes from last year's program included moving to a more centralized location at the Mayo Civic Center, and including a health expert panel to discuss heart health with the audience.


While the majority of the event goers were women, some men were also in attendance. What was also new to Clausen was that the much more of the attendees were young professionals in their mid-20's, showing a change in demographics for awareness and interest in learning more about heart disease.

"I heard great feedback and really enjoyed the fashion show," Clausen said. "I talked with many people, and most of everyone walked away with learning something new about their heart health."

Those who attended were able to receive health screenings, attend a vendor fair as well as receive makeovers, massages and educational opportunities.

Following lunch was a fashion show, with four survivors of major heart-related events — heart attacks, triple bypass surgery, to name a few — sharing their stories while strutting down the runway donned in red attire.

Heart disease was the no. 1 killer in women, according to the American Heart Association, and cardiovascular diseases cause one in three deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute. Since 1984, more women than men have died annually from heart disease and stroke.

However, 80 percent of heart-related events can be prevented. Currently with the Go Red for Women movement, 90 percent have made at least one change in their health behavior and approximately 300 fewer women die from heart-related diseases every day.

For this year's success, there wasn't an individual one that could be mentioned, but it's clear that the increased attention to heart health is still going strong.

"I think it's just that women are realizing that heart disease is definitely an issue," Clausen said, "and are coming to an idea that they have to start taking care of their heart health."

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