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8th Annual National Wear Red Day Event & Photo Shoot Will Raise Awareness About Heart Disease

Photo by Hedi Rudd

“Our Annual National Wear Red Day event is one of our most important events and it’s closest to my heart. It’s our major heart disease education prevention event,” says Lisa Peyton-Caire, founder of the Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness. “This is our 8th year. Hard to believe. We started doing this event 8 years ago because we recognized the critical need to educate black women particularly about the risks of heart disease. It’s the number-one killer of black women in our country as well as the number-one killer of all Americans.”

The Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness will host its 8th Annual National Wear Red Day Event & Photo Shoot on Saturday, Feb. 23, noon-3:30 p.m. at Mt. Zion Church, 2019 Fisher St. It’s a fun day of sisterhood, but it’s also very educational and inspirational.

“We spend this one day to really drill down on what heart disease is, what the risks are, what the warning signs are and how crucial that it’s top of mind for us as we’re crafting our own personal wellness commitment to ourselves,” Peyton-Caire tells Madison365. “As we are committing to self-care, it’s just vitally important that there is education and awareness around this critical threat so that more women are being vigilant around the issue of prevention.”

Peyton-Caire adds that every year more than 48,000 black women die of heart disease.

“It’s personal to me because my mother was one of those 48,000. My three paternal aunts were also,” she says. “We have so many women in greater Madison that we know personally are living with heart disease or have lost women in their family to heart disease. I can name you the names just this year.

“For everyone that we can educate, we have the opportunity to prevent those deaths and for women living with heart disease we have an opportunity to help them find a pathway to living well and really reversing the impact of heart disease on their lives and on their families’ lives,” she adds. “That’s what this event is about.”

The Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness, a Madison-based non-profit committed to improving black women’s health, works year-round on a variety of initiatives. The National Wear Red Day Event & Photo Shoot is one of their signature events and has been held at Fountain of Life Church for the last few years. This year will be the first year that the event will be at Mt. Zion Church in South Madison.

“We are very excited about having it as historic Mt. Zion Church. It’s important for us to move throughout the community and partner with as many organizations as we can in the community to elevate and advance the work,” Peyton-Caire says. “We are fortunate to have such great partners.”

Annual National Wear Red Day Event & Photo Shoot
(Photo by Hedi Rudd)

Partners for the event include the Mt. Zion Health Ministry, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the Allied Community Wellness Center, Allied Dunn’s Marsh Neighborhood Association, Mothers in the Neighborhood, One City Schools, The African American Health Network of Dane County, and others.

Attendees should come dressed in their best red attire and work-out gear.

“In addition to being an education event, it’s also a lot of fun and it’s a photo shoot … so we ask women to come photo-ready,” Peyton-Caire says. “The photos really help us to engage women year to year. They see the beautiful images of us coming together in all of our vibrancy and how important it is to come together as women to really protect our health together. The pictures inspire us to do that.

“In this event – beyond the photos and the fun and the vendors and the refeshments, there is an educational program that is always led by a physician,” she adds.

Special guests will include Dr. Jasmine Zapata and Dr. Adrienne Hampton who will educate women about all of the preventative measures they can take for heart disease and talk about the healthy lifestyles that they can practice now. Panelists Jaeme Harley and Tamara Washington, who are survivors living with heart disease, will also share their stories.

“They are doing everything they can to make sure that the disease does not progress and showing how they can remedy and reduce their present risks and share with women how their lifestyle has changed and the different choices they are making,” Peyton-Caire says. “How they have centered themselves around this whole commitment to being their healthiest; not only improving their education but their actions.”

State Rep. Shelia Stubbs will also be a special guest at the event which will close out with a presentation from Shannon All Around, a fitness trainer and coach from Milwaukee. Peyton-Caire stresses that it’s an event for women (and girls) of all ages.

“Everything we do is intergenerational and heart disease impacts black women of all ages,” she says. “We are impacted at younger ages for a variety of reasons. It puts us into a position of having to be vigilant and aware much earlier than our peers.”

Peyton Caire says its OK to just show up at the event but that they would prefer that people register.

“We will be ready for everyone. It’s family friendly so young people are welcome and we encourage them to bring their daughters, nieces, granddaughters,” she says.

“It’s a very valuable event that helps women leave with really practical and tangible knowledge and tools so that they can really know how to move and plan and behave when they get home to be healthy throughout the year,” she adds.

To register for the 8th Annual National Wear Red Day Event & Photo Shoot, click here. For more information, email [email protected] or call (608) 709-8840. This is a free event, but donations are encouraged and gratefully accepted.