Queens of Hearts: Survivors Feted by Area Businesses

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Cindy Silakof gets a Go Red! pin from Geof Eng at the Grand Health and Racquet Club.


Can you name a handful of breast cancer survivors you know? What about heart disease survivors?

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of American women and people aren’t aware of it. Survivors know, but often keep mum about their experience and concerns to shield loved ones from concern and avoid “worried looks from friends.”

Each thinks of it, though, as Sue Davidson says, “Every time you sit down, think about what to eat or feel stress building.” Davidson’s heart attack happened seven years ago. “At 37 I didn’t look like a candidate for heart disease.”

To those who have survived heart disease, “Learn and Live” is more than a catchy slogan created by the American Heart Association. Recently four Tulsa businesses arranged a special day for three women with firsthand experience of heart disease. On February 28, the last day of National Heart Month, the survivors were treated to a day of being cared for inside and out.

Earlier in February, the Heartland Division of the American Heart Association kicked off Go Red For Women, an information campaign to raise awareness about heart disease and how to lower risks associated with high cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose levels, as well as excess weight, smoking and inactivity.

An important part of the effort includes putting a face on heart disease, which isn’t exclusive and annually kills more women than men. According to AHA Executive Director Mandy Leemhuis, heart disease survivors make very effective information ambassadors and role models. They come from all ages, cultures and income demographics.

For their contributions, the survivors were treated to a fitness workout, spa sensory experience, tasty lunch and the pleasure of being driven between appointments in luxury. The companies included the Grand Health and Racquet Club, Ihloff Salon and Day Spa, Panera Bread and Jackie Cooper Imports.

The women bonded immediately and were mistaken for old friends. For five hours they shared stories and experiences and enjoyed, “being able to talk frankly with someone who understood.”

Their time together started at The Grand with Assistant Manager Danny Whiteman. They talked of medical histories, physical activities and then did a fitness assessment and Grand Express Circuit Training Session.

“Cardio training is a good starting point. Doing something to increase your heart rate for a continuous period will reduce overall body fat and blood pressure,” Whiteman explained. “For someone on a Beta blocker, the aim should be to increase breathing and produce a light sweat.”

Following their workout, the three were pleasantly content with 90 minutes of passive rejuvenating activities at Ihloff Salon & Day, where they received Aveda Foot & Stress Relieving Treatments, chair massages and makeup applications. It was enough to work up an appetite. Next stop: Panera Bread. Soups choices were plentiful and perfect for a cold winter day with a side of salad and a fresh baked roll.

For information on the Go Red for Women Campaign and the Go Red Luncheon and Game of Hearts May 5th fundraiser, call 918-747-8254, or visit Americanheart.org.

Updated 03-28-2005

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