Go Red for Women Luncheon Draws a Huge Crowd (and Hypertension-Reducing Puppies) for American Heart Association

Dallas Showed Up With a Lot of Heart

BY Lacelliese King // 03.05.20
photography WJNPhoto

Texans are known to have some of the biggest tickers around, and at the 2020 Dallas Go Red For Women luncheon last week, Dallas proved that we really are all heart. Local business leaders, survivors, and supporters of the cause raised over $1.8 million to benefit the American Heart Association at the event chaired by Judy Hendrick and sponsored by Aimbridge Hospitality, Texas Health Resources, and CVS Health.

According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women and affects women of all ages. Dallas Go Red For Women is part of a vital global mission to raise awareness and save lives.

Over 1,000 supporters attended the day’s events at the Omni Dallas Hotel, which included heart health education stations, blood pressure and cholesterol screenings provided by Texas Health, relaxation areas (including an interactive puppy play pen), and a silent auction. I duly rolled up the sleeves of my red floral La Vie caftan for a blood pressure screening, and registered a reading of 146/103—well above the “normal” 120/80. Hypertension and heart disease run in my family, and according to the American Heart Association, knowing your family history is one of the first steps to better prevention. Naturally, my next stop was the puppy play pen—and later, the doctor’s office.

Keynote speaker Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum cuddles a furry, hypertension-reducing friend. (Photo by WJNPhoto)

But being able to recognize real-time symptoms of heart attack, stroke, and cardiac arrest is equally vital. Host committee co-chair Nancy Gopez is living proof that awareness through Go Red For Women is helping save lives. Gopez first attended a Dallas Go Red For Women luncheon after her friend and host committee co-chair Mary Parker survived a heart attack. When Gopez began having acute shoulder pain, she says she knew the signs of a cardiac emergency and wasted no time in getting to the hospital. For Gopez and many others, Go Red For Women has provided a truly lifesaving education.

The seated luncheon opened with remarks from Hendrick and a performance and live auction featuring the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Tim Wallace was honored as the 2020 Sandi Haddock Community Impact recipient for his work with the women of Trinity Industries and Arcosa in both fundraising and volunteering to support the cause.

Aortic dissection survivor Meredith O’Neal shared her story as part of the “Open Your Heart” campaign, raising a record-breaking $269,000. Keynote speaker Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum later called the crowd to action by encouraging early detection and prevention measures.

Heather VacLav Hooper, Christina Wood, Meredith O’Neal (Photo by WJNPhoto)

“While nearly 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented, cardiovascular diseases continue to be a woman’s greatest health threat. We’re thankful to the Dallas and Collin County communities for uniting to better women’s heart health and making an impact in the fight against heart disease and stroke,” says Kathryn Allen, American Heart Association senior vice president of North Texas.

Proceeds from the luncheon and auction will support the American Heart Association’s ongoing research and awareness campaigns throughout the world.

Supporters of Dallas Go Red For Women in attendance included Judy and Tom Hendrick, Tavia HuntCourtney KerrKellie RasberryKatherine and Key CokerRegina BruceNancy and Gary BrownSandi and Ron HaddockLisa Warner and Dr. John WarnerTim WallaceBarclay BerdanStacy JohnsonElise Mobley TurnerCatherine WilsonDiane Parmerlee, Melinda KnowlesElsa and Robert Burg, Diane Childress, and Vickie Carr.

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