LOS ANGELES — While a final total is not yet available, it is safe to say that tens of thousands of dollars were raised for the American Heart Association during their 2016 Go Red for Women “Rock the Red” music benefit. The event was held inside the GRAMMY Museum in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday evening.
This year’s honorees included YouTube star Cassey Ho, fourth grader Ava Ganny and insurance brokerage firm HUB International LA.
“It’s wonderful, it’s a 15-minute drive from my house,” said musician Zella Day, who just performed two weekends at Coachella. “I love living in Los Angeles. I feel music is so accessible to me. It’s beautiful to be in such an inspiring place with amazing musicians posted all over the walls. I know that James Taylor has played the same room that I’m playing. Iggy Pop played here last night.”
Nearly one in three women die from heart disease or stroke each year. Eighty percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes.
“Most people don’t make it to the hospital and if they do it can be fixed,” said Ava Ganny, this year’s Youth Champion award honoree. “If they do, it’s easy to fix. If we just spread awareness, then they can get their heart checked and most people will stay alive.”
The evening included a silent auction, a live auction and musical performances by up-and-coming artists such as Shawn Hook, Zella Day and Sabrina Carpenter. Each artist performed two songs for attendees inside the Clive Davis Theatre.
“This is my first time coming to this event and supporting this cause,” said musician Sabrina Carpenter, who can also be seen on Disney Channel’s Girl Meets World. “I just heard about it very recently and I love everything that it stands for. I’m just excited to be a part of it and learn more about it.”
This year’s passion speaker was actress Amber Waller from St. Louis. Her mother passed away from a heart attack. Three years ago, Waller was playing soccer when she had a cardiac arrest and her teammates performed CPR, which saved her life.
“After this happened to me, I wanted to get the word out about CPR, and the work of the American Heart Association and how important it is,” Waller explained. “I’m here volunteering my story and my time. It’s important so I want to get the word out.”
The American Heart Association encourages women and men to know the red flags for heart attacks and strokes. It’s not too late! Simple lifestyle changes can be made to save your life.
“I’m teaching fitness through YouTube videos, and that’s when it started back in 2009,” said Cassey Ho, this year’s Health Champion award winner. “I left my students at 24 Hour Fitness in Whittier, Calif. and I moved to Boston for my very first job. It was only meant for 40 people. Then, I got hundreds of thousands of views. People started asking for more workout videos. I’ve always lived to serve my friends and my community.”
Musician Shawn Hook said he lost his grandfather to a heart attack. The Canadian singer performed “Sound of Your Heart,” the perfect song for the occasion.
“He had a stroke five years before he unfortunately passed away,” Hook explained. “It’s a close cause to me and I’m just happy to be here to support and play music tonight. It should be a great evening.”
Insurance brokerage firm HUB International LA received the Corporate Champion award.
“We support the AHA in their 20-20-20 mission,” said Sara Owens, executive vice president at HUB. “The AHA has set an achievable and very ambitious goal to reduce cardiovascular disease by 20 percent and increase cardiovascular health in all Americans 20 percent, all by 2020.”
For more information about the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign, visit www.heart.org.