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Go Red message can save lives

We are grateful to those who helped organize the annual Go Red for Women Luncheon and Fashion Show held Friday at the University of North Texas Gateway Center.

This was the 10th annual luncheon and the importance of its message can never be over-emphasized.

The purpose of the event is to raise awareness of the No. 1 killer in women — heart disease, which often goes undetected until it is too late.

It’s a message that needs to be shared again and again because many are not aware of the threat because there are several misconceptions about heart disease in women.

But according to information from the American Heart Association, heart disease causes one in three deaths each year, or approximately one woman every minute.

That’s why we encourage community support of the Go Red campaign. It’s much more than one event — it serves as an acronym for important information about fighting the disease:

* Get your cholesterol and blood pressure numbers;

* Own your lifestyle;

* Realize your risk;

* Educate your family about healthy choices; and

* Don’t be silent and let others know that heart disease is a killer.

Cindy Wilke, guest speaker for Friday’s luncheon, knows the importance of encouraging women to monitor their health.

Wilke, 58, who works at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton, said she had a history of heart disease on both sides of her family and kept putting off getting checked because her mother died from the disease.

“It was just something I didn’t want to deal with after watching my mom,” she said.

Diagnosed with heart disease in 2012, Wilke later underwent surgery for a 99 percent blockage of the left anterior descending artery.

“They call it a widow-maker for a reason,” she said. “A stent was placed and I haven’t had any complications since.”

She has since adopted lifestyle changes including a healthier diet, exercise and medication and has been able to significantly decrease the high cholesterol levels she had before.

Wilke, who has been in the health care industry for 35 years, said she should have known better and now encourages women to stay in tune with their bodies.

“Don’t take life for granted,” she said.

We encourage you to share that message with the special women in your life. You can learn more about the campaign by visiting