Hundreds Gather For Go Red For Women In Fort Smith

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Heart disease affects 1 in 3 women, and a nationwide effort to teach women about the issue will be in our area Tuesday (May 2).

This is the first year the American Heart Association is coming to the River Valley, and organizers hope this becomes a tradition for many years to come.

During Go Red For Women, ladies will have a chance to receive free heart screenings provided by Mercy and Sparks Hospitals.

Two local cardiologists will also take the stage to teach women about the warning signs for heart disease and stroke, as well as heart-healthy meal plans.

Holly Huffman will be the keynote speaker. She was the last woman standing on Season 21 of the reality show "Survivor" which airs on CBS.

More than 40 million women in the U.S. are affected by heart disease each year. With such a high number, experts are working to save lives in our area by teaching women some of the warning signs to look for during a heart attack:

  • Discomfort in your neck, jar or upper back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain of numbness in one of both arms, as well as your chest.
  • Dizziness, clammy skin, cold sweat, nausea and anxiousness

If more women know about heart disease, the better chance of beating it. "I had found out that I had two strokes and a hole in my heart, so I had surgery shortly after that," said survivor Brook Borengasser.

Borengasser has advice to give to women. "I just want women to listen to their bodies because we know when something is not right. Have it checked out if you feel something is wrong."

"Some women don't understand that heart disease is the number one killer for women," said organizer Mary Young. "80 percent of heart disease and stroke can be prevented," she adds.

The event is happening until 1 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel located at 700 Rogers Avenue. Tickets are $65, and the money raised will be used for research for the American Heart Association.