The 11th Annual Dutchess-Ulster Go Red For Women Luncheon, was held on Friday, November 9th at The Grandview in Poughkeepsie. More than 360 women attended the event the luncheon–the American Heart Association’s signature event to help raise awareness and funds to fight women’s number one killer—heart disease. Donations are being accepted at http://dutchessulstergored.heart.org for those who could not attend.

A morning educational session on high blood pressure in women was led by Dr. Amit Patel from The Heart Center, in the Health Quest Affiliate. According to the American Heart Association, nearly half of all adults with high blood pressure are women. When left untreated, the damage that high blood pressure does to your circulatory system is a significant contributing factor to heart attack, stroke and other health threats.

“Women need to know about high blood pressure. I ignored it and if it weren’t for my sister convincing me, I might not be here today,” said Maureen Kangas, Chair of the Go Red For Women Luncheon. Kangas, Manager of The Grand Hotel, and other local heart health advocates shared their stories at the event to demonstrate the American Heart Association’s dramatic impact on the health of the community.

Ten years ago, Kangas had her blood pressure taken at a trade show just for fun. It was so high she was told to seek immediate medical attention. She waited, went back to her busy job, and it wasn’t until she told her sister, Nancy Ricci, a nurse, about the high 190/90 reading that she sought medical help. The AHA’s guidelines put her in the hypertensive crisis level—a level which can result in stroke. Today, Kangas takes high blood pressure medicine and she exercises regularly by dancing. Her dance instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Wappingers led a dance demo during the event.

Susan Dallies of Hyde Park said she’s adopted a heart-healthy lifestyle. Her daughter Madison’s survived three open heart surgeries to repair a congenital heart defect. Madison also added her support for the AHA, “I love to be very active and have even participated in the Kids Heart Challenge when we did it at my elementary school. I have walked in the Heart Walk every year since I have been able to walk and was even one of the honorees in 2017.”

Sally Hallenbeck, 76 from Rhinebeck, shared her story of survival from a heart attack and cardiac rehab experience along with Melissa Poland, RN, coordinator of cardiac rehab at Northern Dutchess Hospital. Poland, inspired by her patients, took up a fitness regimen and lost 20 lbs. this year.

Veronica Barker shared how she saved her daughter Brianna’s life with CPR when she was a child. Brianna, now a healthy, happy senior at Penn State, appeared by video to encourage the audience to support the AHA. Emily Smith from Mobile Life Support Services gave the EMS point of view of saving a life from sudden cardiac arrest using the AHA’s CPR guidelines and protocols, which doctors, EMS and bystander use. She encouraged everyone to learn CPR and emphasized that Brianna wouldn’t have survived if her mother didn’t perform CPR before the ambulance arrived.

The Go Red Luncheon event included a health and wellness expo, an inspiring luncheon program, and PURSEonality auction featuring sophisticated handbags, wallets and more. Q92’s Joe Daily and Michelle Taylor returned as event emcees. Denise Doring VanBuren was announced at the Chair of the 2019 Go Red For Women Luncheon event. She challenged everyone to walk a mile a week from now until the event next fall for an accumulated goal of 30 million steps.

The 13 participants in the BetterU Challenge, sponsored by Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, were celebrated at the event. Emily Darrow won the BetterU “Spirit Award” and a free year’s membership to Gold’s Gym.

Go Red For Women is sponsored nationally by Macy’s and CVS Health, and locally by The Heart Center, Health Quest, Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation, Gold’s Gym, the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel, Bonura Hospitality Group, Hudson Valley Magazine, and Q92. Learn more about preventing women’s number one killer at www.goredforwomen.org. #GoRedHV #HVBetterU