On National Wear Red Day, community members sported all shades of red to spread awareness, show support, and most importantly, encourage action against heart disease and stroke in women.
Presented by Porter Regional Hospital, the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Event encouraged attendees to find their ‘why’ by writing the names of those affected by heart disease and related issues on a pin placed above each plate on all the tables.
“I would like everyone to share their ‘why’ out loud,” said Courtney Smith, Go Red for Women Executive Chair.
Names were both shouted and whispered, and each one traveled across the dining hall of Sand Creek Country Club.
“It is time to ignite change. Today is about embracing, understanding, and igniting the Go Red for Women movement,” Smith said.
Diane Kemp, Executive Director of the American Heart Association for Northwest Indiana, spoke to the audience on the importance of being educated on ways to achieve a healthier way of living.
“Today, our hearts are where they need to be – making sure that we are doing what we can to live a longer and stronger life for ourselves, and also to inspire others to embrace a lifestyle and partake in activities that can prevent heart disease,” Kemp said.
Attendees saw a demonstration of crucial CPR steps that can boost a victim’s chance of survival from six percent to 74 percent during cardiac arrest. Afterward, each table tested their skills on a CPR mannequin.
Attendees also enjoyed an open-question panel with three Porter Physician Group cardiologists: Mark Dixon, D.O., Maya Kommineni, M.D., and Jessica Williams, M.D. Each medical professional empowered their fellow community members to take charge of their health and make it known that simple lifestyle changes focused on dietary modifications and exercise can make a profound impact on reducing blood pressure and developing associated health effects.
Sean Dardeau, CEO of Porter Health Care System, expressed his gratitude for the attendees as well as the staff at Porter Regional Hospital.
“At Porter Regional Hospital, we take great pride in supporting cardiac health, wellness, and recovery in our community,” Dardeau said. “We have the honor of being the only hospital in Northwest Indiana that holds Gold-level recognition from the American Heart Association in the category of heart failure, and I want to thank our physicians for leading the charge. Thank you for the advancements you’re making not only in the profession, but also here in Northwest Indiana.”
The event closed with a heartwarming story highlighting a survivor, Camilla Carden, who at just 1 month old, developed bradycardia and went into cardiac arrest. Doctors were able to save Camilla with chest compressions and epinephrine. They immediately intubated and sedated her. Afterward, Camilla remained in the ICU on life support for several days. After two more weeks in the ICU, she was finally able to come home.
Onstage, Camilla’s mother Ashley Carden looked down at her daughter, now 3 years old, and smiled.
“Thank you all for being here today and for all of your support. Knowing that we have this support, we believe that Camilla will live a long and healthy life,” Carden said. “Even though I’m Camilla’s mom, I look up to her and am inspired by her daily. Let’s all continue to be fighters for the ones we love.”
Attendees were encouraged to continue to spread awareness and show support beyond Hearth Health Month across the Region.
“You are in control, and you can share what you’ve learned today with your friends and loved ones,” Kemp said.
To learn more about heart care at Porter Regional Hospital, visit https://www.porterhealth.com/cardiac-care.