WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Jermaine Barnett got a handful of dark chocolate kisses Friday at the "kissing booth," one of many features at the White Plains Hospital's Go Red Health Fair and Expo.
The expo kicked off American Heart Month at the hospital, which will hold a series of education and advocacy events throughout the month of February to help women and men make healthier choices to prevent heart attacks and cardiac disease.
The hospital has dubbed the month of events the Go Red campaign. Staff and visitors who made a donation at the kissing booth received a Hershey's Kiss.
"Just with exercise, diet and basic healthy living we can improve heart health, said Jennifer Shannon, nurse manager for the Cardiac Unit of the White Plains Hospital.
The expo also featured a red dress photo booth where visitors could take a photo behind a life-size Red Dress, which Shannon said has become an icon for heart disease awareness.
There was also information available on the hospital's cardiac catheterization laboratory, which began performing emergency angioplasty two years ago this month.
"We're trying to get the message out that if there's any indication there's a cardiac issue, you should come in and get checked out," said Dr. Mark Apfelbaum, director of the cardiac catheterization lab and faculty at Columbia University Medical Center.
The overall incidents of heart attacks and deaths from heart disease have slowly fallen nationally over the last few years, Apfelbaum said. He attributes this to the use of statin medications, which lower cholesterol
Upcoming Go Red events include a Go Red Community Day from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at Bethel Baptist Church, 1 Fisher Court. Those who attend will learn "beyond the headlines" heart-health information and win giveaways. There will also be workshops and lectures geared toward heart disease prevention and awareness. Other events include:
- Heart Health Club Lecture Series: Men and Heart Disease, 5:30 p.m., Feb. 5 at White Plains Hospital, 41 E. Post Road.
- Weight Loss Surgery - The Operation Option, Is it Right for You? 6 p.m., Feb. 20, in the Centennial Room of the White Plains Hospital, 41 E. Post Road.
- Healthy Feet, taking care of our feet as we age: 5 p.m., Feb. 21, at the White Plains Recreation & PArks Community Center.
- Go Red! Night 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Feb. 28, at Mulberry Street, 189 E. Post Road. A $25 donation grants you a "Go Red" bracelet, raffle tickets, two glasses of red wine and heart healthy appetizers.
“Most of us know someone who has been affected by this deadly disease, and by holding these events, we hope to provide both women and men with the appropriate tools they need to take action to reduce their own personal risk,” said Dawn W. French, vice president of marketing and community relations at White Plains Hospital. “We encourage all members of the community to take advantage of these awareness and education events and spread the word about heart disease awareness.”