DETROIT — On Friday afternoon, the American Heart Association (AHA)’s Detroit chapter hosted its 2021 Go Red for Women digital experience. Organizers moved the annual event online due to safety concerns relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, this year’s event was free of charge allowing more people to watch than ever before.
This year’s week-long digital experience raised a total of $624,171 with $164,756 of that coming on that Friday alone, according to Ebony Begley, communications director of the AHA Detroit chapter.
The Go Red for Women Digital Experience was led by Co-Chairs Betsy Meter, Former Michigan Managing Partner, of KPMG LLP and Tricia Keith, Executive Vice President and President, Emerging Markets, at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The goal was to highlight the Faces of Heart and bringing awareness to the social determinants of health that disproportionately impact women. Why? Because women’s health is an equity issue.
“I am so honored to be part of the AHA and to serve as co-chair for this amazing Detroit Digital Event,” said co-chair Meter. “I’ve witnessed firsthand the impact the AHA makes in our communities. Each of us has experienced someone in our lives who have been affected by heart disease or stroke. This disease can be beat. We need to continue to educate women on the solutions. Let’s be a change we need to see in the world.”
An online auction was also held to raise funds for AHA Detroit. Some of the wonderful prizes up for bid included hot laps at The Detroit Grand Prix, a tour of The Parade Company studios, concert tickets for DTE Energy Music Theatre, family fun at The Detroit Zoo, golf outings, and gift certificates to some of Detroit’s finest restaurants.
“For 17 years, the AHA has been leading the way to address the disparities in women,” said event co-chair Keith. “Our theme for this year’s event is Faces of Heart. We want you to know that women’s health is an equity issue. Everybody deserves the opportunity for a healthy life. This is why we’re calling a Code Red for Women to live fierce and live relentless to their No. 1 killer. That’s one death per minute in the U.S. Why do I go red? Well, the truth is I can’t afford not to. My grandmother died of a stroke. My mother had a stroke and thankfully recovered. I am very passionate about health and wellness. This means knowing your risks and doing the preventative things to take care of you.”
Heart attack symptoms for women are different than for men. Look for uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest; Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach; Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort; and breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness. If you have any of these signs, call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away.
Two scholarship winners were announced during the Digital Experience:
- Tatiana Worthy, 11th grader from Cody High School in Detroit
- Kyra Hudson, 11th grader from Renaissance High School in Detroit
“When I asked my family about health issues in Detroit, they said people lack access to healthy food options,” said Cody High School student Tatiana Worthy. “Many people struggle to improve their diets. People are naturally willing to help each other but face societal issues. Now because of COVID-19 food insecurity has risen in every community. People are relying on other members of their community. I’ve seen people across the city of Detroit on social and traditional media to spread awareness about free food for those in need. Adopting Food sovereignty can reduce the agriculture’s negative impact on our food and improve the quality of life for everyone.”
Former WDIV-TV reporter Lila Lazarus served as the emcee of the Go Red Digital Experience. She currently serves as a spokesperson for Saint Joseph Mercy Health System.
“This year’s luncheon is dedicated in memory of Susie Dubin,” she explained. “Let’s Go Red and make a difference. We have set a fundraising goal this afternoon. Everything makes a difference. We know that southeast Michigan has always been such a generous community. 2020 what a year, right? The AHA is committed to forging ahead because cardiovascular disease and strokes don’t take a break during COVID-19. We are coming together to create change in our communities.”
Lazarus said there is a critical need for more women and people of color in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. Men make up more than 70 percent of people working in STEM currently.
Throughout the week, AHA Detroit hosted pre-event sessions including “Women’s Simple 7: 7 Heart Healthy Behaviors & Markers”, “Stress & It’s Impact on Women’s Bodies” and “Mindfulness & Stretching Your Body at Home” among many others.
This year’s Digital Experience was very informative. Hopefully, attendees will be able to meet in-person for the 2022 Go Red for Women luncheon once again.
For more information about AHA Detroit, visit https://www.heart.org/en/affiliates/michigan/detroit