February 2nd is National Wear Red Day.  This is an annual event created by the American Heart Association (AHA) to raise awareness for heart disease in women. It typically kicks off a month of awareness activities that culminate in Go Red for Women Luncheons around the country in late February to raise funds to promote awareness of heart health in women and fund needed research for cures.

All of this is very near and dear to me.  My mother underwent several heart related procedures, and in her 70’s suffered a heart attack that lead to a triple bypass.  Her heart issues first got me involved in the Go Red movement.  She later suffered 2 strokes, as did my father.  Heart disease is an issue for my family, and with its hereditary nature I have to also be concerned for my 3 daughters.  Added to that I suffered a heart attack and quadruple bypass at 49, so I know all too well how heart disease affects individuals and their families.

According to the AHA, one in three women will die from heart disease which is greater than any other mortality for women.  They also purport that 80% of those deaths are preventable with recognition and proactive steps.  Recognizing heart symptoms is often more difficult for women since their symptoms can differ from the “traditional” symptoms associated with heart disease.

I volunteered for several years with the Indianapolis Go Red for Women Luncheon silent auction committee.  It gave me an inside view of a great organization truly mobilized to raise awareness and fund research to combat heart disease.  While the focus is on women what they do benefits all of us.  I had the pleasure of introducing some non-traditional auction items for this type of event such as motorcycle riding lessons (along with a donated helmet and gloves required for the class!) and signed memorabilia from Jeannette Lee, the “Black Widow”, a renowned name in professional billiards.  My red motorcycle was even used as a photo prop for women at the luncheon!

RK 3WearRed.RickKoen

So, on February 2nd, I will proudly be dressed in all the red I can muster.  Every female should support this great cause that affects such a large number of your population, and every male is likely affected by a female in his life impacted by heart disease.  So, wear your red loud and proud, and donate so that one day this month can be celebrated as a reminder of a disease that was conquered!