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Your Health
A Noozhawk partnership with Cottage Health

Go Red For Women Event Gets to Heart of Cardiac Disease

Michele Mallet Click to view larger
Michele Mallet

The American Heart Association wants women on the Central Coast to know that mothers, daughters, sisters and friends are at risk. Heart disease and stroke kill about one woman every 80 seconds — more than all cancers combined, the association reports.

The good news is, 80 percent of cardiac events may be prevented with education and lifestyle changes, the Heart Association said.

Community members can be part of the change to end heart disease at the 22nd annual Go Red For Women Luncheon.

For more than a decade, Go Red For Women has fought for equal health opportunities for women, the Heart Association said.

"We proudly wear red, share our stories of survival and advocate for more research and swifter action for women's heart and brain health," the association said.

"More than 450 men and women will come together and spend the day learning about heart disease and stroke and what they can do to reduce their risk factors."

The Go Red for Women event will begin with a Health Expo at 10:30 a.m., followed by the sold-out luncheon and program at noon on Friday, Feb. 9, at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara in Santa Barbara.

This year’s program will feature Montecito resident and heart-attack survivor Michele Mallet.

In August, at age 43, Mallet woke up at 4:30 one the morning and knew something was wrong.

An avid runner, hiker, yoga enthusiast and overall healthy woman, Mallet was not a person you’d expect to go into cardiac arrest.

“The American Heart Association tells women to ‘know their numbers’ to understand their risk factors. My numbers were good. But I also know my body,” Mallet said. “And it’s so important to listen to your body and ask for help.”

“Michele had a coronary angiogram with coronary stent placement,” said Dr. Michael Shenoda, a cardiologist at Sansum Clinic and Mallet’s doctor.

“She suffered a cardiac arrest, where her heart stopped beating due to a life-threatening abnormal heart rhythm from her heart attack, which occurred from a spontaneous tear in her heart artery,” he said.

The annual Go Red For Women campaign raises awareness that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, and urges them to take preventive measures to reduce their risk.

The movement harnesses the energy, passion and power women have to band together and collectively wipe out heart disease. It also gives them the tools they need to lead a heart healthy life, the American Heart Association said.

On a national level, the Go Red For Women movement has resulted in 650,000 women’s lives being saved over the last 10 years, the American Heart Association said.

The Go Red for Women luncheon executive team is responsible for the success of the event and is made up of area business and community leaders, the Heart Association said.

This year’s team includes: Janet Garufis, Jill Fonte, Linda le Brock, George Leis and David Edelman. Garufis, chairman/CEO of Montecito Bank & Trust, and Fonte, public information officer/director of marketing for Sansum Clinic, are the co-chairs.

The Go Red Luncheon for Women is sponsored nationally by Macy’s and CVS, and locally by:

Cottage Heart and Vascular Center, Paseo Nuevo, Sansum Clinic, Montecito Bank & Trust, Pacific Western Bank, The Towbes Group, Radius Group Commercial Real Estate, CenCal Health, Idea Engineering, First American Title, OnQ Financial.

Village Properties, Sansum Santa Barbara Medical Clinic, American Riviera Bank, Community West Bank, Marborg, Visus LLC, Seed Mackall LLP, Invoca, LogMeIn, Land Rover Santa Barbara, Union Bank, Central Coast Home Health and Hospice.

Diane Rushing, Ashleigh Taylor Portrait, Santa Barbara Airbus, SolWave Water, SB Creative Content, KEYT News Channel 3, Pacific Coast Business Times, Santa Barbara Independent, K-LITE 101.7, 805 Living and Cox.

For more information, visit

— Donna Romani for the American Heart Association.

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