ROGERS, Ark. (KFSM) — The 15th anniversary of Northwest Arkansas "Go Red for Women" luncheon raised $450,000 for the American Heart Association while also educating women and men about heart disease and strokes.
"American Heart Association started Go Red all these years back," said Northwest Health Cardiologist Dr. Ashu Dhanjal. "The whole aim was to educate women to know more about their risk factors, take care of themselves better, and I think we`ve come a long way."
The event includes an expo with dozens of vendors like healthcare providers, wellness products and free screenings. It brought women together in a fun environment to educate them about heart disease and stroke.
"You see other people sharing their stories here, and that gives you hope, that gives you education, that gives you more opportunities to want to learn more about it," Dr. Dhanjal said.
Cardiovascular diseases continue to be a woman's most significant health threat, claiming one woman's life every 80 seconds.
15-year-old Kennedy Allison almost became a part of that statistic.
"She wasn't breathing, there was no pulse, they administered CPR, they've used the AED machine on her," Kennedy's mother said.
Luckily, Kennedy's teacher and the school nurse were there to save her life.
5NEWS Anchor Erika Thomas helped emcee the event on Tuesday (May 21) and got an exclusive one-on-one interview with keynote speaker Dr. Phil McGraw.
Dr. Phil talked about heart health and why this cause means so much to him. In the interview, he explained his personal connection to this mission after losing both his sister and his mother to heart disease.
"She was really on death's door 15 years before she died and she really made some substantial changes in her life, and I think it stretched her life out over a decade," Dr. Phil said.
He says that's why he makes his health a priority every day, playing tennis and keeping a healthy diet.
"[Health diet and exercise] only seem like old sauce because they're talked about a lot," Dr. Phil said. "It doesn't make them any less profound, and it doesn't make them any less important."
Dr. Phil stressed the connection between mental and physical health, noting how high stress leads to inflammation and strain on the heart. He explained why it's not selfish for women to put themselves first.
"If you love your children and I know you do, take care of their mother," Dr. Phil said. "It's the only one they'll ever have."
5NEWS is a proud sponsor of "Go Red for Women," and you can watch Dr. Phil weekdays at 3 p.m. on Channel 5.