Go Red has Region women ‘Staying Alive’ - May 4, 2017

Courtesy of NWI Times

By Heather Augustyn

HOBART — Hundreds of Northwest Indiana residents packed a banquet room at Avalon Manor on Thursday afternoon, practicing CPR chest compressions on inflatable dummies as the Bee Gee’s hit song “Staying Alive” played over the speakers.

The training was part of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Educational Symposium that brought the community together to learn about the No. 1 killer of women — heart disease.

“Only seven percent of the population knows how to do CPR, so if you have a cardiac event, this is important to know,” said Dr. Marsha King, dean of the University of Saint Francis at Crown Point and the 2017 Go Red for Women Northwest Indiana executive chair.

She told the crowd that the song “Staying Alive” had the perfect rhythmic tempo for proper chest compression speed while performing CPR. Passing out dozens of inflatable dummies to audience members is a new initiative as AHA continues its fight against a disease that kills one in every three women.

“This is the third event we have done this at — the first was the American Heart Association’s Go Red event in Valparaiso, the next was in LaPorte, and today we are doing it here. It helps people get used to performing CPR properly so that they can educate others on how to do it and this way we can make a difference,” King said.

Making a difference through education is the mission of the American Heart Association in Northwest Indiana, said executive director Diane Kemp.

“We have made it our mission to train 5,000 people this year to perform CPR in partnership with the Times. We are over 2,600 before we came into this room today and after today we will have trained over 3,000, and it’s only May,” Kemp said.

Other education at the Go Red event included heart and stroke risk assessments, body mass index screenings, and blood pressure screenings performed by medical staff from Methodist Hospitals.

Kemp said that the American Heart Association began the Go Red for Women campaign in 2003. The daylong event and surrounding programming came to Northwest Indiana a year later.

The education at Go Red for Women is important for Jason Akers of Team Toyota Schererville, who was a recipient of the Heart of Gold award for his contributions to the American Heart Association.

“I employ over 40 percent women, which is rare in the auto industry, so it is important for us to all have an awareness of healthy living. This is important to us, to raise awareness,” Akers said.

Akers noted that just last week his business provided over 200 free oil changes to women in celebration of Go Red for Women, and during one of the health screenings at the event, one woman was identified with high blood pressure and she is now receiving proper treatment.

“That’s why we do this,” he said, “that’s why we’re involved.”