Go Red for Women Lunch
Source: American Heart Association
The American Heart Association wants women on the Central Coast to know that our mothers, daughters, sisters and friends are at risk. Heart disease and stroke kills about one woman every 80 seconds – more than all cancers combined. The good news is that 80 percent of cardiac events may be prevented with education and lifestyle changes. Be part of the change to end heart disease at the 23rd annual Go Red For Women Luncheon.
For more than a decade Go Red For Women has fought for equal health opportunities for women. We proudly wear red, share our stories of survival and advocate for more research and swifter action for women's heart and brain health. More than 500 men and women will come together and spend the day learning about heart disease and stroke and what they can do to reduce their risk factors. The Go Red for Women event will begin with a Health Expo at 10:30 a.m., followed by the Luncheon and Program at noon on Friday, February 8, 2019 at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort in Santa Barbara.
This year’s program will feature local resident and heart transplant survivor Thomas Johansen. A realtor with Village Properties, Johansen was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy in 2012, just a few days before Christmas. For an active, healthy man, he contemplated what a diagnosis like this meant for his future. For nearly five years he fought the disease and continued to live a full life. Then in April 2017, he awoke one morning with ventricular attacks. He spent the next two months in and out of the hospital as his life was turned upside down.
Despite all his efforts, Johansen learned that the disease had become more aggressive and he now needed a new heart. For two weeks he met with 50 doctors on the Transplant Board and endured daily procedures. When he was finally approved and added to the list, he was number 34 in line and was told the wait time could be 2-3 years. The biggest concern, though, was that in order to move up the list and get the heart he needed, his condition had to get even worse.
“So I kept living,” Johansen said. “I socialized with friends and worked to keep myself busy. I knew I had to get worse; I just hoped that I wouldn’t die doing it.” The day Johansen moved up the list, he suffered 72 ventricular attacks and his heart stopped beating. Saved by a defibrillator and now in critical condition, he was moved up to number 4 and admitted to the hospital to wait.
Sitting in his hospital room for eight weeks waiting for a new heart, tethered to his bed by the SWAN catheter required to be transplant-ready, Johansen relied physically and emotionally on the nurses taking care of him, “We would laugh a lot and joke with each other. To me they were like family. What those nurses do is beyond belief. They breathe life into patients. And they do it with such ease.”
For many patients like Johansen, the cardiac nurses are quite literally their lifeline. And this year, five cardiac nurses from Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and one from Santa Ynez Cottage Hospital will be honored at the Luncheon along with Johansen. Nominated by their peers, the AHA and the Santa Barbara community will pay tribute to the hard work and dedication of Marsha Griggs, Sharon Morley, Zaida Pascual, Gary Tartar, Sue Weingartner and Samantha Yim.
The annual Go Red For Women campaign raises awareness that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, and encourages them to take preventive measures to reduce their risk. The movement harnesses the energy, passion and power women have to band together and collectively wipe out heart disease. It also gives them the tools they need to lead a heart healthy life. On a national level, the Go Red For Women movement has resulted in 650,000 women’s lives being saved over the last 10 years.
The Go Red for Women Luncheon Executive Team is responsible for the success of the event and is made up of area business and community leaders. This year’s Executive Team includes Justin Anderson, Michelle Bischoff, Christina Chackel, Madison Chackel, Mary Cochrane, David Edelman, Jill Fonte, Joanne Funari, Janet Garufis, Teri Gauthier, Shahla Gholami, Jonathan Johnen, Dianne Johnson, Brianna Johnson, Linda Le Brock, George Leis, Julie McGovern, Catherine Remak, Susan Rodriguez, Sarah Sinclair, Janice Takeda, Tony Vallejo, Beth Vos and Lori Zahn. Karen Chackel, County Manager of First American Title, and Steve Golis, Partner and Co-Founder of Radius Group Commercial Real Estate are co-chairing the Santa Barbara 2019 Go Red for Women Luncheon.
The Go Red for Women Luncheon for Women is sponsored nationally by Macy’s and CVS and locally by Cottage Heart and Vascular Center, Paseo Nuevo Shops & Restaurants, Sansum Clinic, Montecito Bank & Trust, Pacific Western Bank, Radius Group Commercial Real Estate, CenCal Health, First American Title, OnQ Financial, Village Properties, Community West Bank, Union Bank, WFG National Title Insurance Company, Ashleigh Taylor Portrait, SolWave Water, TV Santa Barbara, SB Creative Content, KEYT News Channel 3, Pacific Coast Business Times, Santa Barbara Independent and Cox.
For more information, please visit GoRedSB.heart.org.