Luncheon hosts ‘90210’ star Jennie Garth, raises money for American Heart Association

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women ,with stroke at a close No. 3, but both are often dismissed as being more of a man’s illness.

The American Heart Association hosted a Go Red for Women Luncheon on Thursday at the I Hotel in Champaign to promote heart disease awareness among women and to combat those misleading stereotypes.

Donna Greene, event chairwoman, said the Go Red movement has been around for about seven years, and this is the second time the event was held in Champaign.

“The idea of Go Red is to really build awareness for women, to empower them to take control of their health and commit to improvements so they aren’t a victim of heart disease,” Greene said.

Before the luncheon, women participated in an silent auction with all the proceeds going to the American Heart Association. Health screenings were also offered for women to get informed of their cholesterol and glucose levels.

Along with the luncheon centered on heart health, the event organized breakout sessions that featured local medical and healthy-eating experts who educated event participants on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

There was also a “Lady in Red” fashion show where women modeled summer’s clothing trends in red from Macy’s and Bella Mia.

The keynote speaker for the luncheon was actress and Central Illinois native Jennie Garth. Garth is heavily involved in the Go Red movement. She said her father’s own battle with heart disease and the importance of the heart to a person are some of the main reasons for her involvement.

“It’s just something that has become a part of my daily life, taking care of my heart, remembering to be thankful for how much work it does, and it’s something I’ve passed down to my children,” Garth said.

She also said that because of her position in the spotlight, she felt she needed to use her fame to promote awareness about a serious issue.

“If lending my voice to something I care greatly about helps people, then that’s what I’m here to do,” Garth said.

Garth also stressed the point that heart disease is something that does not only affect the person diagnosed with the disease.

“It affects the whole entire family,” she said.

Judy Sochor, a Cerro Gordo resident, said she came to the event because of the speakers.

“I use to watch (Jennie Garth) on ‘90210,’ so I was really excited about seeing her,” Sochor said. “I thought it would be interesting to hear the speakers on heart health.”

Heather Snow, event director for the Rockford branch of the American Heart Association, said it is important for women to come to events like this because heart disease kills one in three American women, and sometimes women do not take the necessary precautions to combat heart disease.

“We’re not realizing our risk, and we’re not making enough difference in our own lives and in the lives of women we love,” Lawrence said. “I have a little daughter, and I want to make sure I raise her to be a heart-healthy young lady.”