River Valley ‘Go Red For Women’ Event Raises Awareness For Heart Disease

FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — Cardiovascular disease claims the life of a woman about every 80 seconds.

Go Red For Women is a movement to raise awareness and end heart disease and stroke in women.

Heart disease continues to be one of the greatest health threats to women, but 80% of cardiac events can be prevented. It can impact women and men at any age.

“To hear at 25 that there’s something wrong with your heart, that you're already in heart failure and that had they not found it you only had five years left to live is a very scary thing," said Kristi Lokey, a heart disease survivor.

Lokey is one of the millions of women alive today because her congenital heart defect was found in time.

17-month-old Sawyer is another heart disease survivor.

“I’m a first-time mom so the last thing you would ever have to think about having a baby is that your child will have a congenital heart defect. We found out six or seven months after he was born and shortly after that he had open-heart surgery," said Sawyer's mom Ashley Yeary.

Sawyer is doing great now and he’s one of the reasons Ashley Goes Red for Women.

"Not just for my son, but I think for all women," Yeary said. "Heart disease is obviously something that is rampant throughout the country and now has a personal connection to somebody related to heart defects. It’s just a near and dear cause for me."

The luncheon took place at the Fort Smith Convention Center Thursday (Sept. 12).

In addition to a silent auction, there were health screenings and educational seminars. Plus there was a fashion show, inspiring stories and a keynote address from Blake Woolsey.

“We have to put ourselves on the forefront and we know our bodies, we know what’s going on within us and we have to go to that doctors and we have to say I feel like there something wrong with me," Lokey said.

One of the main goals of Go Red For Women is to provide a platform for women to lead healthier lives.

5NEWS Anchor Veronica Ortega was this year’s emcee for the Go Red For Women luncheon in the River Valley.

Go Red for Women is sponsored by Baptist Health Fort Smith, Mercy, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, OK Foods, the Times Record and 5NEWS.

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