February is the month of heart health, and Alpha Phi’s 10th annual ‘Go Red Week’ is an opportunity for students to get involved and raise awareness for women’s heart health across campus.
Beginning on Monday, sorority members have been hosting fundraising events where donations will go to various women’s cardiac care organizations and research centers.
Baylie Moravec, Alpha Phi president and junior history major, said she enjoys ‘Go Red Week’ because it’s for a cause close to her heart.
“Personally, my mom had a heart attack when I was a sophomore in high school and it was a rare form that only one woman in a couple hundred thousand get,” Moravec said. “So when I was going through recruitment and I heard about how Alpha Phi was all about heart health, I thought it would make sense for me since that directly affects my family. One in every three women will die from some sort of cardiovascular disease a year, so this is very important and close.”
Moravec said since she has been involved in Alpha Phi, ‘Go Red Week’ has been one of her favorite events to be a part of.
“I enjoy it because it’s so close to me and just affects so many of us personally,” Moravec said. “I also just enjoy having such a small campus and seeing the turnout with the different kinds of students that show up to the event.”
Emily Herbert, Alpha Phi vice president of community relations and sophomore criminal justice major, said ‘Go Red Week’ is a fun week to get everyone involved and bring the campus together.
“I really just like bringing together the campus and having fun,” Herbert said. “Right now is when you start getting into the hard part of school, so it’s a fun time to do some silly stuff and take a break from school.”
Herbert said after working Alpha Phi’s Red Dress Gala in the fall, she realized how much she enjoyed philanthropy.
“I fell in love with working toward a cause, because we’re all so lucky and there’s so many people who are unable to do what we’re able to do,” Herbert said. “It’s a really great time to do something that’s beyond yourself and raise money and awareness for this really awesome cause.”
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women, so raising awareness is the way for people to address signs of heart disease and the risk factors.
Wafa Akkad, assistant professor and Sanford Health physician, said heart health can be enhanced through lifestyle modification and detecting early signs of heart disease.
“Women should always remember the major risk factors for heart diseases and closely watch their cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and weight,” Akkad said. “Daily exercise is a very effective approach to deal with all of these conditions, in addition to taking any necessary medications.”
Akkad said smoking is another major risk factor, and menopause or birth control pills can raise the risk of heart disease in women to some degree.
Signs of heart disease differ between men and women, but there are some that are unique to just women. Akkad said with the help of Alpha Phi’s ‘Go Red Week’, more people will be aware of heart disease and the importance of women’s heart health.
“As a family physician, I strongly believe that prevention of a disease must be the main focus and common goal of everyone,” Akkad said. “Efforts to achieve better prevention of heart disease must not be seen less important than advancing treatments of such diseases. All efforts, like what Alpha Phi is doing, to raise women’s awareness of the importance of heart health and improve their skills to detect early signs of heart disease are critical.”