‘Go Red for Women’ educates attendees about good heart health in Novi, MI

A fireside chat with Shatica McDonald, Kristy Sidlar and Ericka Stephens at the 2023 Go Red for Women luncheon. (Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

NOVI, Mich. — The American Heart Association’s Metro Detroit chapter hosted its annual ‘Go Red for Women’ program and luncheon at the Suburban Collection Showplace on Friday.

Rhonda Walker, news anchor for WDIV Channel 4, was the emcee for the 2023 Go Red for Women, a women’s health initiative by the American Heart Association.  They bring greater awareness to heart disease which is the leading cause of death for Americans, especially women. 

Go Red for Women educates women about the signs and symptoms and their risk factors to protect hearts of women everywhere. Click here for more info about those signs and symptoms. They also offer tips to lead a healthier life. Rhonda says it is personal for a lot of us and to me. 

“My mom is a registered nurse so she knows the deal when it comes to heart health.  When I was very young, I was exposed to many funerals.  Many in my family had heart disease.  Soul food was a holiday food in my house.  It was a diligent effort to change the menu.  I am breaking the cycle of heart disease.  My dad had an exercise EKG done and they found a blockage.  That was 18 years ago and he is doing fine today,” says Walker.

“Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in women.  We know that women of color is more impacted.  Women continue to have their symptoms dismissed.  A man’s odds of surviving a cardiac arrest is 26 percent higher than women.”

Shatica McDonald, the 2023 Go Red Chair, says her mom had her at 15 years old and had high blood pressure for most of her life.  “She stands here today with no high blood pressure and no heart disease.   Last year’s theme was “Reclaiming your Rhythm”, and this year’s theme is “Be the Beat.”

Sharon Gipson, CPA, Vice President Enterprise Audit at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, says it takes a city.  “Since 2020 in the city of Detroit, we offered 600 infant CPR kits to new moms, produce boxes to 250 hypertensive patients, and 400 self-monitoring blood pressure devices.   

The American Heart Association went to six churches to show them how to use AED’s and train people how to do CPR.  Because of this presence in the community, we not only help people spiritually but also healthwise,” added Gibson.

The entire event raised thousands of dollars for the American Heart Association. Also, at the event, there was a silent auction and a live auction. 

The live auction consisted of a Detroit staycation package.  A night at the Siren Hotel, with dinner at San Morello and drinks at the Candy Bar.  The second package was a Birmingham staycation with a night at the Daxton Hotel with room service, a Rivage Day spa and dinner at 220 Merrill.  The third package was six nights at the Riviera Maya in Mexico, a top luxury suite at Vidanta Bliss.

The silent auction included a Top Golf night out, signed Detroit Red Wings jersey and book club party for ten, among others. 

Ronia Kruse, 2022 Go Red Chair, was on hand to introduce a 2023 survivor named Molly Ann Nagelli.  Molly stated that she is of Irish and German heritage.  “My family was by my side when I had my heart issue.  Now I am the healthiest version of me” says Nagelli.  She thanked her doctor at Michigan Medicine for helping her in her journey.  The air that she breathes is so much sweeter now. 

“My one word was ‘fight.’  Fight for your health!  I fight every day.  The warning signs are different for women.  No one expects to experience what I did at 25 years old.  I am fortunate to have family who fought for me and with me,” added Nagelli.

Instead of a featured guest this year, there was a fireside chat with Shatica McDonald, Kristy Sidlar and Ericka Stephens.

Remember ladies, take the time to care of yourselves and see you next year.

For more information or to make a donation to the American Heart Association Metro Detroit chapter, visit: https://www.heart.org/en/affiliates/michigan/detroit

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