Sorority raises awareness of heart disease

February 24, 2014 6:20 AM1 comment

Story by Hayleigh Syens

Photo by Luke Nankivell

women1_leong-w2000-h2000On Wednesday night, the women of the Gamma Omicron chapter of Alpha Phi social sorority gathered together on Pomerantz Stage in Olmsted Center to present Women With Heart to Drake University.

Women With Heart was an event featuring various performers working to bring awareness to Alpha Phi’s philanthropy, Go Red For Women.

Each year, the women of Alpha Phi partner up with the American Heart Association of Des Moines in order to raise awareness for women’s heart disease.

This year, Alpha Phi wanted to add something new to its annual Go Red Week.

“I really wanted to revamp the whole Go Red Week and the activities throughout the week. Emily Sadecki actually came up with the idea of making the week a combination of the anatomical part of the heart as well as showcase women that exhibit and radiate heart,” said Rebecca Braun, Alpha Phi director of internal philanthropy.

“I originally thought of the idea after attending a TEDxWomen conference in downtown Des Moines this winter and thought it would be cool to incorporate it into our initiative to re-vamp our Go Red for Women philanthropy week,” Sadecki said.

Women With Heart was created to bring attention to gender issues in conjunction with health issues.

“The event celebrated the other things that make up the hearts, including compassion, love, talents, personality and determination of a number of amazing women as a reminder of the importance of taking care of our hearts,” Sadecki said. “This year we wanted to put an emphasis on social justice and awareness versus simply fundraising, which I think many times takes precedence in philanthropies.”

Performers were all women whose talents ranged from slam poetry to opera.

Performers included Drake students and professors as well as members of the Des Moines community.

“I set no guidelines as to what the performers did, because I wanted the event to be raw and come straight from the heart,” Sadecki said. “I think powerful things come out of simply asking to see people’s hearts.”

Although the event was focused on women and featured women performers, Women With Heart was an important event for the men in attendance.

“Women’s cardiac care not only affects women, but men too,” Braun said. “All men have some type of female figure in their lives whether it is a mother, grandmother, daughter, co-worker and so on. The topic of cardiac care and being heart healthy is not limited.”

Audience members could get involved before the event using the hashtag #womenwithheart and posting about women they believe have heart on a Facebook page.

“The hashtag and event page created a really neat space for people to lift up and recognize women in a way that generally doesn’t happen,” Sadecki said. “It was very inspiring to see women lifting each other up versus the alternate.”

Braun and Sadecki found the Women With Heart event to be a success, as did audience members in attendance.

“I think it was definitely a success,” said Sadecki, who hopes to incorporate Women With Heart as a permanent event during Alpha Phi’s Go Red Week.

“I believe it was a huge success! Not only were there Phis at the event, but other people from the Drake community as well,” said Braun. “There were both men and women in attendance. We also got a lot of positive feedback from our fellow students after the event in person and on social media.”

“If we impacted even just one person, then it was worth it,” Sadecki said.

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