Luncheon raises $73,000
to fight heart disease, stroke

More than 500 local women and men packed a room at Hart’s Hill Inn in Whitesboro on Wednesday to help raise more than $73,000 in the fight against heart disease and stroke at the annual Go Red For Women Luncheon.

They included five companies that entered teams of employees in the American Heart Association’s 2012 Go Red Corporate Challenge. The teams from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield; First Source Federal Credit Union; AmeriCU Credit Union, Revere Copper, Inc. and Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare spent eight weeks engaging in a workplace wellness challenge that culminated with the announcement of the results at the luncheon. These companies are role models in the Mohawk Valley for helping employees instill healthier lifestyles, American Heart Association officials said. While all of the teams saw improvements in their overall wellness, there were awards to recognize outstanding contributions to the battle against heart disease:

Company of the Year — Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield

Heart Survivor Award — Uli Etheridge

Most Inspiring Individual — Lorie Nichols

Spirit Award — Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare

Most Improved Company — AmeriCU Credit Union

Company with the Highest Average Score — Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield

Company with the Most Participants — First Source Federal Credit Union

Life Changing Commitment Awards were given to: Carrie Mineo, Dale McLean, Nicole Kneedham, Deb Lopata and Daniel Haggerty.

The keynote speaker, heart disease survivor Chrissie Hughes from Oriskany, shared her personal story. "Advancements in the treatment of heart disease are the reason I am here today and able to spend time with my husband, dear children and beloved grandchild," said Hughes. She underwent her first open-heart surgery in 2002 when she was just 25 years old, and is using her personal experience as a heart survivor to encourage people to support heart research. Using the platform "Love Your Heart," Go Red For Women engages these women — and the men who love them — to embrace the cause. For more information about Go Red For Women, call 1-888-694-3278 or visit www.GoRedForWomen.org.

The American Heart Association, founded in 1924, is a voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke. To help prevent, treat and defeat these diseases — America’s No. 1 and No. 3 killers — it funds research, conducts lifesaving public and professional educational programs, and advocates to protect public health. To learn more visit www.heart.org.