At the Go Red For Women Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole, we looked at the world through a red lens, from the ladies at the registration table to the cloths on the tables. The rosy color scheme was appropriate for the American Heart Association fundraiser that promotes awareness and education about women's heart health.
Emcees Adrienne Bankert and Brendan Higgins from CBS 11 News this Morning drew in the crowd with this staggering statistic: 43 million women in the United States are affected by heart disease, the No. 1 killer of women.
Health-conscious attendees Sunie Solomon, Mary Gill, Katy Bock, Simona Beal, Sandi and Ron Haddock, Kristi Hoyl, and Skye Brewer lunched on Thai beef salad as Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, asked the audience to take a moment to look at their tablemates. Then he shared a bone-chilling truth: One woman at each table will die from heart disease.
"Take advantage of your life, because it is a walk on the beach every chance you get," said Laura Bush during her keynote speech.
Co-chairs Virginia Rose and Kate Rose Marquez thanked the room of 1,000 supporters, and Rose recognized keynote speaker Laura Bush for accepting the lifetime Circle of Red honor.
After a video presentation with words from three women affected by heart disease, including Marquez, all eyes turned toward the former first lady.
Mrs. Bush began her speech by reporting that her father in-law is home from the hospital and doing well. "[My in-laws] are showing George and me how to age with grace," she said.
"Last summer in Maine, Barbara walked her dogs on the beach twice a day, every day. From both of them, George and I learned that all you know you have is right now. So take advantage of your life, because it is a walk on the beach every chance you get."
She talked about trying to stay grounded while living at the White House and how different her life is here in Dallas. More important, she shared her passion for women's health advocacy.
Mrs. Bush went on to say that too many women believe that heart attacks only happen to men, so women are more likely to ignore the symptoms. She also shared a heartfelt story that came out of a visit to Saint Luke's Hospital in Kansas City in 2003.
"Joyce had watched news coverage of my visit to Saint Luke's, so she had learned the symptoms of heart disease," Mrs. Bush said. "That very night, when she woke up with chest pains, she remembered what she had heard. So she said to her husband, 'I think I'm having a heart attack — let's pray and get to the hospital.'
"Joyce was having a heart attack. [She] had surgery and she's in good health, and now she proudly wears red and shares her story. When Joyce first told me the story, she said, 'You saved my life.' Just a few years later, after sharing her story and encouraging women to take care of their health, a woman came to Joyce and said, 'You saved my life.'"
Mrs. Bush closed her speech by praising the Heart Truth campaign — which raises awareness about heart disease through personal stories — and the little red dress.