No doubt, the American Heart Association‘s annual Go Red For Women Dallas Luncheon is one of the season’s most important fundraisers. One big reason: all the information that’s imparted there about heart disease, the leading cause of death among women. It was at the 2012 luncheon, for example, that Nancy Gopez learned how to recognize the signs of a heart attack. That knowledge proved a lifesaver four years later when, sensing the symptoms, she checked quickly into an ER and staved off bigger problems.
Heart-attack survivor Nancy was one of more than 1,200 scarlet-clad attendees who turned up on Friday, February 22, for the sold-out Go Red For Women 2019 Dallas Luncheon at the Omni Dallas Hotel. Many of the guests — they included Kellie Rasberry, Caroline Kraddick, Kelly and Marty Turco, Tiffany Divis, Dee Lincoln, Debra Von Storch, Karen Kline, Luane McWhorter, Cara French, Leslie Diers, and Lisa Cooley with daughter Ciara Cooley and daughter-in-law Bela Cooley — began the event by paying attention to their own physical well-being. They did so by submitting to health screenings provided at the Omni by Texas Health Resources and also participating in stroke-recovery simulations sponsored by Encompass Health.
Then, following a silent auction and VIP reception, it was on to the main event in the mammoth Omni ballroom. There, a huge red “heart” chandelier dominated the scene, and a delicious Southwest Chicken Salad — think chicken breast on leaf lettuce with black bean and corn relish and corn tortilla strips — dominated the luncheon menu. (There was also a raspberry chocolate tart.)
As attendees enjoyed the repast they were welcomed by the event honchos — Co-chairs Judy Hendrick and Katherine and Key Coker — before learning that Dr. Helen H. Hobbs would receive the 2019 Sandi Haddock Community Impact Award. As a faculty member at UT Southwestern, guests learned, Helen had spearheaded a groundbreaking study of heart and metabolic diseases.
Next it was time for keynote speaker Dr. Jennifer Ashton, the chief medical correspondent for ABC News’ “Good Morning America” program. A board-certified Ob-GYN, Jennifer began by saying that three of her favorite people in the world were in the house: her son Alex Ashton, 20; Moll Anderson (“my good, good girlfriend”); and Nancy Brown, CEO of the Dallas-based American Heart Association.
With that she turned to her presentation, which she jokingly titled, “How To Put the U Back in Uterus.” Gender inequality in the study of heart disease is a big problem, Jennifer told the crowd. In addition, “too many doctors” neglect to explain the risks of cardiac disease to their female patients, she said, adding that more Ob-GYNs and cardiologists need to work in concert together to solve the problem.
While women are “hard-wired to put themselves last,” she said, “we need to fix this … We all have a responsibility to improve our health literacy.” Luncheon guests like Nancy Gopez knew — first-hand — just how right Jennifer was.
* Photo credit: Dana Driensky ** Photo credit: James Edward *** Photo credit: Scogin Mayo