2022 Go Red for Women heart health luncheon returns as in-person event in Novi, MI

Florine Mark, former president and CEO of Weight Watchers Group Inc., spoke via video message. (Gloria Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

Novi, Mich. — The 18th annual American Heart Association Go Red for Women luncheon was held at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Mich. for the first time in two years as an in-person event.  This event raises awareness of heart and brain health for all, not just women.

Florine Mark, former President and CEO of Weight Watchers was the keynote speaker of the event.  Due to a wedding in Florida, she was unable to be here in person, however she sent a video message.

Mark began by telling everyone that she had a fat family.  Her sister was fat, her mother was fat and she was fat.  “Kids bullied me in school.  They called me ‘fat Flo’.  I went to nine different diet doctors and took pills.  I lost some weight and then gained it back.”  Then she saw an ad in a magazine for Weight Watchers.  She tried it and lost five pounds in five days.  “In four months, I lost 40 pounds.  So in Detroit about July 1970, I started my first class.  My family came,” says Mark.  And the rest is history.

Her advice to you is be kind to yourself.  “I look in the mirror every morning and have a choice.  I can be happy or unhappy.  I choose to be happy.  Listen to your brain.  Your brain can tell you to be happy, no matter if it’s raining outside or whatever,” adds Mark.

Mark also said “If I take care of my heart, my heart will take care of me.  I eat properly and I eat healthy.  I eat my fruits and vegetables.  I eat chicken and lean meats.  I exercise at least 30 minutes a day.  You can walk in your house.  If it’s nice out, walk outside, walk your dog.”

The American Heart Association (AHA) told me to tell you some important facts:

  • They are helping people create healthy habits
  • Heart disease is the number one killer for ALL people
  • It’s so important to take charge of your heart
  • Research shows heart attacks are on the rise in younger women

“Be a loving and kind person.  I am grateful to have AHA in my life.”

The 2022 Event Chair, Ronia Kruse, President and CEO of OpTech, talked about her mother who had a stroke.  She says heart disease and stroke has taken the lives of many people.  But it can be prevented through lifestyle changes.  “Let’s keep the rhythm going on with life.  We have raised more than $500,000 for this cause,” noted Kruse.

The emcee was Mara MacDonald of WDIV Local 4, who also talked about her 90 year old mother, who has heart disease and was supposed to be here but her 88 year old father was shoveling show this morning and fell.  So she stayed home to make sure he didn’t fall again.

MacDonald says that dancing just 15 minutes a day lowers blood pressure and lowers stress levels.  So she asked everyone in the audience to stand up and we did a little dance at our tables to a Motown tune.

Dr. Sareen from Ascension says 80 percent of heart disease is preventable. “Red is the color that symbolizes heart and love.  Heart disease is the number one killer of women in America.  Six times a bigger killer than breast cancer.  There is tremendous work to be done,” says Dr. Sareen.  She says to find something that connects to your soul.  Also know your numbers and BMI.  “Let’s reclaim our rhythm.  Say yes to Red.”

Survivor Dee Dee Davis told her story of the blockage in her heart.  “Do I want to exist or live?  I want to live,” says Davis.  She is proactive on herself.  She says Get your happy back.

The musical entertainment was provided by Ben Sharkey and Band.  There was also a silent and live auction.  Detroit Go Red for Women luncheon was an enjoyable event for me.  So take care of your heart people, so it will take care of you.

For more information about the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign, visit https://www.goredforwomen.org/

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