Even though downtown Dallas was recently overrun with tiny cheerleaders competing for the national championship title, it's clear where the waves of women in red were heading: the 2020 Go Red for Women luncheon.
Put on by the American Heart Association and chaired this year by Judy Hendrick, the massive gathering helps raise awareness and funds for preventing, researching, and treating heart disease and strokes. And raise these more than 1,000 attendees did, to the tune of $1.8 million and counting.
The first stop was a step-and-repeat where guests were encouraged to place a flower in the greenery wall in honor of those suffering from cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in women.
Then it was onto the health screenings provided by Texas Health Resources, a relaxation station that explored how to apply stress-relieving techniques, and a puppy play area that helped underscore the impact pets can have on overall health.
Guests — who included Tavia Hunt, Courtney Kerr, Kellie Rasberry, Mary Parker, Nancy Gopez, Katherine and Key Coker, Melinda Knowles, Regina Bruce, Nancy and Gary Brown, Sandi and Ron Haddock, Lisa and Dr. John Warner, CEO of Texas Health Barclay Berdan, Stacy Johnson, Elise Mobley Turner, and Diane Parmerlee — also browsed the silent auction.
Prizes ranged from beauty baskets and dining experiences to sports memorabilia and lavish excursions to Chicago and New York. Attendees could also purchase a bottomless Champagne flute for $100, to add a little bubbly to the afternoon.
Tim Wallace and the women of Trinity Industries and Arcosa were recognized as the Sandi Haddock Community Impact Honorees for the historical impact they have made on the AHA's life-saving mission. For more than 11 years, Trinity Industries has raised nearly $7.5 million for the Association, led by the leadership of Wallace.
During the Open Your Heart portion of the program, attendees heard from heart survivor Meredith O'Neal. In 2018, O'Neal suffered a life-threatening aortic dissection when she was 37 weeks pregnant. She underwent two emergency surgeries, where physicians at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas saved her and her baby, Geoffrey. Thanks to her awareness of her family history, she sought medical attention immediately, which ultimately saved her life. The Open Your Heart Campaign raised a record-breaking $269,000, more than double last year's amount.
This year's keynote speaker, Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, has devoted her career to the treatment of heart disease through early detection, education, and prevention. She detailed how the first-ever Go Red luncheon was established, and how it has grown to a powerhouse fundraiser across the nation. Dr. Steinbaum also stressed the importance of knowing the signs of cardiac distress in women, and how they vary from the symptoms traditionally seen in men.
For 16 years, Go Red for Women has provided a platform for women to come together, raise awareness, fund lifesaving research, advocate for change, and improve the lives of all women everywhere. To donate or for more information, visit heart.org/dallasgored.