Gov. Whitmer discusses vaping, prescription drugs at Go Red for Women luncheon

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at the 2020 Go Red for Women luncheon in Detroit. (Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

DETROIT — The celebration of American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women 2020 Detroit Luncheon was held on Friday afternoon at the Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit.

WDIV Local 4 anchor Kimberly Gill kicked things off by stating that heart disease is the leading cause of death among women, more than all cancers combined.  “It impacts women of all ages and races.  It is no longer about sharing facts, we have to take charge of our own health so that we can live longer and healthier lives.”  Gill thanked all the sponsors that support “Go Red for Women.”

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer was the special guest speaker for this afternoon. She says we need to focus our energy on the biggest threat to our country and our state, heart disease.  Forty-five percent of women 20 years or older deal with heart disease.

“We need access to affordable health care and prescription drugs.  This morning I signed an order to lower the cost of prescription drugs.  Nobody has to choose from paying for prescriptions or paying rent.  Prescription drugs are a little part of the solution to treating heart disease.  My administration focuses on ensuring a healthy birth and life to improve our health statistics in women.”  She also stated that black women are more likely than white women to have heart disease. 

“The American Heart Association is committed to end vaping in this country for our youth.  Vaping is a public health emergency.  Our kids are being preyed upon by cigarette companies and it jeopardizes their long-term health, and we must stop this.  My administration will be educating and empowering kids and women on heart disease and also addressing mental health,” added Whitmer.

Paula Silver, Vice President of Corporate Communications at DTE Energy, talked about the sponsors whose donations support the American Heart Association.  “Deborah Greenman, Assistant General Counsel at Toyota Motor North America Inc., and I both co-chaired two back-to-back Go Red events.  We’re passionate about women’s health because we all know a daughter, sister, mother or daughter-in-law that has been affected by stroke or heart attack.”

Silver mentioned that her mother suffered a massive heart attack at age 56.  “Her story is my story.  We never think it’s gonna actually happen to us.”  Another story she mentioned was about a friend who had 11 stents and never knew she had heart disease.  She is doing fine now.  “If we identify the factors early, we can conquer this.”

Greenman announced that she served three times as co-chair of the American Heart Association.  “My father passed away from a stroke.  I asked myself ‘what could I have done to prevent this?’  I could have educated my family on heart attacks and stroke.  I feel the need to raise awareness on the symptoms.  Know your numbers–weight, cholesterol and high blood pressure.  We need to educate.  Toyota and the American Heart Association is connecting people to freedom of movement and a better quality of life.”

A survivor, Cindy Soave, told her story of when she had breast cancer upon the birth of her baby daughter, a stroke and had a heart transplant.  She, along with her husband, says she is doing fine.

Along with this program, there was a health expo, a silent auction, live auction and two breakout sessions on heart health.

For more information or to donate to the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign, visit

Cindy Soave, Survivor, with husband
(Photo by Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

Live auction at 2020 AHA Go Red for Women luncheon in Detroit.
(Photo by Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

Deborah Greenman, Toyota and Paula Silver, DTE
(Photo by Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

(Photo by Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

Signs and symptoms of cardiac arrest and heart attacks
(Photo by Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

(Photo by Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

2020 Go Red for Women official event sponsors
(Photo by Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

Stay tuned for more great photos from the event…