By Michelle Colesanti

February has been designated as American Heart Month by The American Heart Association. It is a great way to remind Americans to focus on their heart health to live longer and healthier lives.

Heart disease is the number one killer of women, causing one in three deaths annually. That is approximately one woman every minute. The good news is 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action.

During the month of February, Brandon Regional Hospital (BRH) will demonstrate its commitment to helping stop the #1 killer of women by participating in ‘National Wear Red Day’ on Friday, February 2.

According to the hospital’s Business Development Director Jill Lansky, “We also champion the Go Red For Women campaign by awarding a Healthy Start to a Healthy Heart gift basket filled with heart health goodies and gifts for mom and a beautiful newborn red dress for the first baby girl born at Brandon Regional Hospital on National Wear Red Day which is February 2.”

Since the Go Red program started, 293 fewer women die each year of heart disease and a 30% decrease in cardiovascular deaths annually. Over $350 million has been raised by Go Red for women for research and education.

Get regular checkups and learn all of the factors that can put you at risk. Knowledge is power, and once you’ve got it, you can start making positive changes to your lifestyle. Factors like age, gender, and family history are obviously beyond anyone’s control, but there is still a lot you can do to minimize your risk.

BRH are also partners with the American Heart Association to provide red knitted hats to all babies born during the month of February. Volunteers who enjoy knitting and crocheting make the red hats for the 275 to 300 babies that will be born this month. Hospital staff hopes that it will have enough hats to give to each newborn. Volunteers who enjoy knitting and crocheting are always welcome to donate hats. Visit www.goredforwomen.org for more information on the Go Red program.

Another project BRH partners with is Project Linus. The purpose is to provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans lovingly created by volunteer ‘blanketeers.’

It also provides a rewarding and fun service opportunity for interested individuals and groups in local communities for the benefit of children.

A group meets quarterly at the Oakfield Medical Plaza (across from hospital), Ste. 260. You are welcome to attend the next meeting, which will take place on Saturday, February 10 from 9 a.m. to1 p.m.

Additional Saturday meet ups this year will be May 5, August 4 and November 3. For more information, please call Jill Lansky at 712-0064.

For more information on Brandon Regional Hospital, visit https://brandonhospital.com.