COLONIE — “It’s truly important for women to stay strong and keep their hearts and brains healthy, not only for their families but for themselves,” said Jill Harris Johnson, former Tulip Queen and now member of the Go Red for Women Luncheon committee.
Johnson played host in The American Heart Association’s’ Red Couch Tour, which ended with a presentation in front of the fountains of Colonie Center Wednesday, May 10. Johnson coaxed a handful of women to each sit with her on the couch to share their respective stories.
“We as women always put others first, often overlooking our own symptoms of heart disease or stroke,” said Johnson. “Sharing stories on The Red Couch raises awareness, and is a reminder that today is a gift that we only open once.”
Stroke is the No. 5 killer of all Americans. The American Heart Association ran a three-stop tour to help promote awareness to circulatory disease, and to educate people on its warning signs for May, American Stroke Month.
Dr. Andalib Nawab, of Cardiology Associates of Schenectady, and Medical Director of the Women & Heart Disease Program of Ellis Medicine, has facilitated the discussions at past Red Couch Tour stops.
“Every 80 seconds, a woman dies of heart disease,” said Nawab. “The Red Couch Tour is an opportunity for women living with heart disease, and those who have survived a stroke, to share their stories so that others might recognize the signs and symptoms, take preventive measures, and further share the information.”
An undertaking of Ellis Medicine and the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement, the Red Couch Tour invites women to take a seat on a comfy red couch and share their stories of heart disease and stroke to help raise awareness about the impact of these two diseases on women.
“Since the Go Red for Women movement was founded 12 years ago, 670,000 women’s lives have been saved,” said Kathy Lanni, chief community officer of SEFCU and chair of the Capital Region Advisory Board of the American Heart Association. “I have seen the power of women telling their mothers, sisters, daughters and friends about heart disease. Ellis Medicine is making a terrific opportunity available for us to continue to save women’s lives. ”
A video compilation of stories collected during The Red Couch Tour will be shown at the Go Red for Women Luncheon on Thursday, May 25 at the Albany Marriott.
Michael Hallisey is Managing Editor of Spotlight Newspapers.