On Tuesday, March 3, 2015, I had the honor of speaking on a panel for the 2015 American Heart Association Go Red Luncheon held at the New York Hilton Midtown. The educational breakout was entitled, “Finding Your Passion to Find Heart Health.” I shared the stage with a group of dynamic women including:
The panel was really about telling our stories. We all echoed the importance of following your heart to be happy and healthy – despite hard work and possible doubts. Studies now show that passion plays a role in improved wellbeing. The luncheon keynote speaker was Arianna Huffington (Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief, The Huffington Post). I sat next to her at dinner a few years ago in Davos for the World Economic Forum. It was then she asked if I would write for the Huffington Post. Read my latest post, “Is 96 the New 22? Seven Secrets to Vitality from Yoga Master Tao Porchon-Lynch.”
My dear teacher and mentor, Tao Porchon-Lynch, joined me for the event. She exemplifies everything we were discussing – that we can have a sharp mind, agile body and spirit full of joy through the ages. People were enthralled to meet Tao in person. It was indeed a treat for all!
The luncheon also featured moving stories from heart disease survivors, as well as a performance from the musical “Piece of my Heart: The Bert Berns Story.” I got a chance to meet Bert Berns’ children, Brett Berns and Cassie Berns. They worked tirelessly to bring their father’s story to life. He died of a rheumatic heart when they were very young.
Heart disease is not just a man’s disease. 1 in 3 women die of heart disease and stroke but it can be prevented. I’ve been volunteering for the Association for eight years and have served on their International Stroke Committee, New York State Advocacy Committee, Multicultural Leadership Committee, Harlem Go Red Committee and Social Media Subcommittee. I moderated the Media Panel for the Harlem Go Red event in December 2014.
A precursor to the Harlem Go Red events, I produced and hosted the day-long Power New York City: Health & Empowerment Symposium on behalf of the American Heart Association in 2009. Held at Columbia University and tailored to the African-American community, it was a landmark event – one of their first focused specifically on wellness and prevention versus solely heart disease. With over 200 people in attendance, it offered inspirational talks, self-management tools, health screenings, and discussions on “total health” including healthy eating, mental health, oral health, skincare, disease management and prevention. The keynote speaker, Terrie M. Williams, spoke about the role of mental health in the total health equation. Watch the video.