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Heart Health

By Peg McRoy Glover

Kim Speer’s dedication and enthusiasm for the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Go Red for Women initiative is so contagious it is hard not to want to be part of it when in her presence.

Named this year’s chair following last year’s Go Red for Women Luncheon, Speer is honored to have been asked.

“I am so proud to be the leader this year,” said Speer. “When I got a call from Amanda Mills, (executive director of the Indianapolis American Heart Association) last year to have coffee with her, I had no idea what it was all about. Frankly, I was floored that I had been recommended and immediately said ‘accepted.’”

Started in 2004 by AHA, the Go Red for Women program, campaign, and platform helps increase women’s heart health awareness and provides information on prevention of cardiovascular disease, which is the No. 1 cause of death among women.

“The No. 1 key of the campaign is prevention through education,” said Speer. “If people make healthy eating choices and make their health a priority, we can reduce our risks of heart disease. We don’t have to lose our mothers, sisters, and friends to cardiovascular disease.”

The Indianapolis AHA relies heavily on its volunteer network, board of directors, and leadership teams for nominations and recommendations on who will lead their initiatives. It was through these networks that Speer was nominated to be this year’s leader.

Kim Speer will chair this year’s American Heart Association Go Red for Women event and help with fundraising.

“There are key things that we look for,” said Mills. “We obviously want someone who is going to be passionate about our mission, have the ability to inspire others, lead by example, support our work on all fronts, and open doors to more people. I was told Kim would be dynamic in the role. I was sold at our first coffee meeting.”

Aside from Speer’s first and foremost fundraising responsibilities this year, she also worked with the Circle of Red, a group of women who are leaders in the community and can bring more attention to the issue, and Women of Impact, a group of women who work diligently for nine weeks trying to raise as much money as possible.

“Working with Kim this year has been such a joy and blessing,” said Mills.  “She really stepped in and elevated this campaign. Over the past couple of years things have been a little rough with COVID. Going virtual we lost some momentum. Kim has turned that around. She stepped up into a leadership position and rallied friends, colleagues, and partners in the community to support Go Red for Women.”

Go Red for Women was launched almost 20 years ago because women were not being represented in the science and research of cardiovascular disease. Women were often misdiagnosed and brushed off as suffering from something less serious.

In the last couple of decades, it has been discovered that there has been a great deal of misconceptions about women and cardiovascular disease. It was learned that women have different signs, symptoms, and present differently to health care providers.

Go Red for Women has helped turn all of that around.

Recognized annually during National Heart Month, the Go Red for Women campaign culminates at its annual luncheon Feb. 17. This year’s luncheon is themed “Be the Beat,” a reference to learning Hands-Only CPR. AHA has a goal to train at least one member of each household in Hands-Only CPR that can save the life of someone having a heart attack.

Info Box

Hands-only CPR

To learn more about CPR classes go to CPR information cprindianapolisin.com/bls_class/near_you

Go Red for Women purse auction

The luncheon sponsored by Hendricks Regional Health is sold out, but an online purse auction will raise money for Go Red for Women. Each purse is themed, for example such as a purse to carry while traveling or one for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The auction runs 12 p.m. Feb. 13-12 p.m. Feb 17. Visit event.gives/indygored/items

Sidebar #1: (USE WITH QR CODE)

Valentine’s Day heart scan gift

  • The scans are quick, painless, last about 15 minutes and cost $49. 
  • Heart scans provide early detection of heart disease even when symptoms may not be present.
  • A heart scan takes pictures of the heart’s arteries, allowing physicians to check for coronary artery disease, which occurs when plaque builds up.
  • People should get a scan if they fit in these categories
    • 40 years old or older
    • High blood pressure or cholesterol
    • Diabetes
    • Overweight or obese
    • History of smoking 
  • To request a scan for yourself or to gift a scan to a loved one scan the QR code or visit Hendricks.org/heart/scan. 


American Heart Association Go Red for Women initiatives

Website: goredforwomen.org

  • Support awareness, research, education and community programs to benefit women.
  • Provide programs to increase women’s knowledge of heart disease and stroke risk
  • Provide tools and motivation to help women reduce risk and protect health 
  • Support scientific research so healthcare providers have up-to-date strategies, treatments and tools
  • Advance their mission to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular diseases
  • Improve educational resources

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