Detroiters move mountains when they come together for a good cause. The American Heart Association and the Children’s Tumor Foundation both are revving up for their signature annual fundraisers.
The biggest take-away for Detroit-area women is to take better care of themselves, says Sharyl D. Smith, who is vice president of marketing, planning and public relations for the McLaren Medical Group and co-chair for this year’s Go Red for Women Luncheon at the Renaissance Center downtown.
“Women need to know that heart disease is 80% preventable with a few lifestyle changes,” she stressed. “In Oakland County, Wayne County, Detroit, Michigan and beyond, heart disease is the No. 1 killer among women.”
The annual luncheon, which began more than 10 years ago, helps to spread awareness about heart disease and stroke prevention among women. It also gives area women a chance to hear heartfelt stories and advice from heart attack survivors.
Last year’s event drew nearly 700 attendees, and this year organizers are hoping for a sold-out event with 800 attendees. The keynote speaker is comedian Kim Cole, who starred in hit TV series “Living Single.”
“We thought Kim is smart and engaging. And comedians make the message fun and resonate with people,” said Smith, who is co-chairing this year’s event with Janice Cosby Bridges. “People don’t come to the luncheon to be preached to, they come to reconnect with friends and enjoy a day out for a good cause.”
Smith is especially passionate about educating women about the disease as her mother died from a heart attack in 2007.
“We as women know what to do – eat better, don’t smoke, and move more. But we are often too busy focusing on taking care of other people – sometimes at the detriment of our own health,” she explained. “If we want our children to form different habits, we need to show them how to cook and live healthier.”
She encourages women to come early to the luncheon to take advantage of the free health screenings that will be provided or to check out this year’s silent auction.
If you’re looking for another local fundraiser to support, you can always run around in your underwear.
John Marcicky is Detroit’s race director for the upcoming Feb. 13th Cupid’s Undie Run in Grand Circus Park downtown. It’s the fourth year of the popular one-mile race that attracts droves of scantily clad runners and walkers on behalf of the Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF).
“This is our fourth year and we’re always pushing ourselves to go bigger,” said Marcicky, who is director of placemaking at Quicken Loans. “We’re adding some new and exciting things to this year’s race. We’ve got some fun entertainment and new partnerships this year.”
Cupid’s Undie Run will be held in 36 cities across the country along with three runs in Australia. Collectively the races brought in $3.5 million for CTF. The foundation raises funds to further research of neurofibromatosis, which affects more than two million people. The disease can cause tumors, cancer, blindness, deafness and learning disabilities.
“I’m proud to say that Detroit is the No. 3 fundraising city for CTF behind D.C. and Cleveland,” said Marcicky, who highlighted the pre-race party and after party at the Fillmore Detroit. “Every year we’ve been fortunate enough to surpass our goals. We started out with 500 people and this year, we hope to hit 1,500 participants and raise $400,000.”
If you’re considering joining the race, ask yourself: When else will I get the chance to run through Detroit in your unmentionables and not get arrested?
“It’s always interesting to see all of the creative ways that people dress up for the run. It has become a bucket list thing for a lot of participants,” he laughed. “Some come in underwear, with their pets, some in costumes and others as superheros!”
We take great pride in the fact that it’s a fun event that offers participants a little bit of everything, he said with pride.