(WKBW/American Heart Association) Nearly 400 local women packed a room at the Buffalo Niagara Marriott in Amherst on Thursday, May 10th in a “sea of red” to help raise more than $100,000 in the fight against heart disease and stroke. Today’s luncheon was chaired by Dr. Yvonne Ragan, President of Buffalo Promise Neighborhood, emceed by WKBW TV’s Joanna Pasceri, sponsored nationally by Macy’s and Merck and sponsored locally by M & T Bank.
Heart attack survivor, Chrislan Manuel, made a special appeal to the women in the room. “We have good instincts; we just need to listen to them.” It was just over a year ago when Chrislan reluctantly went to the hospital with chest pain and nausea only to discover that at 47, she had suffered a heart attack.
The keynote speakers were Biggest Loser Resort Niagara trainers and former contestants from the reality show in season 12, Jessica Limpert and Ramon Medeiros. Their lively talk addressed their own heart-healthy lifestyle changes and encouraged women to put themselves first. “If you don’t take care of yourself, then you won’t be able to take care of the people you love.” said Jessica Limpert.
As guests arrived at the Women’s Wellness Exhibit, sponsored by First Niagara, they were welcomed with a red reusable shopping bag courtesy of Independent Health. Before the luncheon got underway, attendees had the opportunity to bid on handbags, take advantage of screenings, participate in yoga demonstrations, receive healthy cooking tips and assess their personal risk of heart disease and stroke. A breakout session, “Your Heart is in Your Hands: Identifying Stressors and Turning Them Into Life-Saving Behaviors” by author, Dr. Catherine Collins was also available to guests.
All guests had an opportunity to take a photograph that demonstrates a promise to love their heart and start living a healthier lifestyle. Jessica Limpert and Ramon Medeiros joined the ladies in the photo which was sponsored by GM Powertrain and will be sent to the participants as a reminder of their promise.
The 2012 Heroine of the Heart award was given to long-time volunteer and advocate for women’s heart health issues, Dr. JoAnne Cobler. Dr. Cobler is proactive in encouraging women to know their numbers and to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle. She has supported the Go Red For Women campaign for many years as a board member and past president, former chair of the campaign and current Passion Committee chairwoman.