More than 600 people wearing red gathered Thursday at the Oncenter to celebrate the strength of women in the fight against heart disease as a part of the 16th annual Syracuse Go Red for Women Luncheon.
Heart disease is the number 1 killer of women with 1 in 3 women affected on some level with cardiovascular problems. However, Syracuse University Student and American Heart Association-funded researcher, Plansky Hoang says it is preventable and women can take precautions to avoid heart disease by recognizing different symptoms that are often overlooked.
“I think women should start paying more attention to the smaller things, such as getting out of breath just walking upstairs, or trying to keep up with someone else. And I think those are the early signs of what can lead to an overall downhill spike in your health.”
This year’s keynote speaker was Emme, a plus-size model and body image advocate. The S-U alumna says a big part in fighting heart disease is changing the conversation that women have with their bodies and making it more positive.
“This is a situation that’s no longer about a certain size of a demographic or a certain gender or age or ethnicity. This is hitting across the board and it’s getting younger. So we must, must start thinking of ourselves in a much better way.”
Emme says in speeches, she tries to be the voice of the body, and in this case, the heart, which is working hard to pump blood.
“Somehow that gets through to people, where they’ve never thought of their body other than just the thing that’s below their neck. When you think of the relationship you have with your body, a lot of women don’t have a very positive relationship. And that affects them getting out and being fit, and you can be fit in a variety of sizes and shapes. You don’t have to be one way.”
This year’s luncheon and year-round activities raised a record 425-thousand dollars to fight disability and death caused by cardiovascular disease, as well as research, training, and community education. In the time it took to tell you this story, one woman died from heart disease.