Annual Go Red for Women goes virtual

DOVER — The American Heart Association held its annual Go Red for Women luncheon virtually on Wednesday. The overarching theme of the event was that cardiovascular diseases do not discriminate. It continues to be the number one killer of women and spans across gender, race and age.

Many in virtual attendance were “going red” for a loved one who had been affected or had passed away from a cardiovascular disease. Emcee Jenni Grammer was honoring her mother.

“We lost her way too soon and unfortunately she was the one in three women who die from heart disease,” Ms. Grammer said.

In the era of COVID-19, it’s understandable to be wary of going to doctors’ offices or hospitals but keynote speaker Dawn Tartaglinoe, medical director of Bayhealth, said no one should be afraid of going to the hospital due to COVID-19, especially if they are experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack.

And those symptoms may be different for women than for men. While arm pain is known as the primary symptom of a heart attack, it’s much more common for men who were the focus of most heart studies for decades until recently. For women, symptoms may include shortness of breath, back or jaw pain, cold sweats or nausea.

One of the survivors profiled during the event was Lindsay Ferrante. After a healthy pregnancy and delivery of her son, she was discharged from the hospital and eight days later suffered a massive heart attack that didn’t exclusively present itself with just arm pain.

She received bypass surgery to clear a 95 percent blockage and after 13 days in the hospital was able to return home to her husband and newborn son.

“I learned to live life to the fullest after that,” she said. “I am thankful for every day.”

While heart attacks are one of the most well-known heart problems, the event profiled survivors who made it through other heart related problems as well.

One of those survivors was 9-year-old Ellie Everton — who seemed to be healthy at birth — but at eight weeks old was taken to the hospital due to excessive coughing only for her family to find out she had an enlarged heart.

After two months on a transplant waiting list, Ellie received a new heart at 4 months old.

“The American Heart Association is so important to us because every dollar they raise goes toward research that saves lives like Ellie’s,” said mother Jamie Everton.

The Delaware chapter of the American Heart Association set a goal of raising $10,000 in honor of Ellie’s upcoming 10th birthday.

Healthy diets and exercise reduce the chance of heart disease. Attendees were provided with a heart healthy recipe and instructional video prior to the event. The menu was designed by chef Ludovic Bezy of Chefs Fight for Your Heart, an annual cooking competition that raises money for the American Heart Association.

In between inspirational survivor stories and health tips were dance sessions to get everyone’s heart pumping. One was an instructional video hosted by Stephen tWitch Boss of “So You Think You Can Dance.”

To donate to the Delaware chapter of the American Heart Association. Text “DelawareGoesRed” to 41444.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

Have a question, tip, or resources about the coronavirus pandemic? Submit it to our newsroom and we’ll do what we can to provide answers.