A crowd of nearly 350 women came decked out in red to enjoy the 10th annual Go Red for Women Luncheon and Fashion Show on Friday.
The event, held at the University of North Texas Gateway Center, raises awareness and money to fight the No. 1 killer of women in the United States — heart disease.
Raise money, it did. Event chairwomen Ellen Painter and Amanda Crocker, who is the marketing director at the Denton Record-Chronicle, said that through ticket sales, silent auctions and sponsorships, the soldout luncheon and fashion show netted more than $60,000.
“This is a cause that people want to sponsor or help with more and more,” Painter said.
The event just happened to fall on Valentine’s Day this year, but Crocker said because of the significance of red and the symbol of Valentine’s Day, they try to plan the event as close to the holiday each year as possible.
Raul Ortega, a vascular surgeon with North Texas Vascular Specialists, said 541 Denton-area residents died from cardiovascular disease in 2012, while 130 died from strokes.
He urged the people at the event to go home and visit www.texashealth.org/heart and take a survey to see where they stand for risk of the deadly disease because it can hit at any time, young or old.
Cindy Wilke, a mammographer for Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton who was the guest speaker, encouraged attendees to take charge of their bodies.
Then student models strutted their stuff on the runway in a fashion show featuring red designs crafted by fashion design students from the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University.
Luncheon attendees voted on the outfits and the winners were presented with awards at the end of the show. Winners were picked in three categories — Judges’ Choice, People’s Choice and Accessories.
The Accessories award went to Alex Chapman for a metal body chain with red glass beads.
The first place People’s Choice award went to Rebekah Kilpatrick, a designer who modeled her own red and white hoop dress complete with red glittered guitar pick embellishments. Second place was given to Lilit Matevosyam for a red vinyl dress with an exaggerated collar and pleated skirt.
The Judges’ Choice first-place award went to Dika Obiaju for one of her designs, a long scarlet coat with a black fur collar. Second place went to Kimberly Ehlars for a red sleeveless dress with waistline cut-outs and a full pleated skirt.
Obiaju entered four items in the show, she said, and her winning design was her class project that she just turned in last Wednesday.
“I wasn’t even going to enter it, but it was red and my teacher suggested it might be nice,” she said after winning. “I am very glad I did.”
Obiaju, a junior majoring in fashion design at UNT, said this was her first year to enter.
The event was about more than just winning awards, Painter said. It was about saving lives.
“If we just saved one person here today, then we did our part,” she said with a smile.
MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.