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Heart health luncheon raised $26,000

A crowd of women - and a few men - gathered at the SunLand Golf and Country Club last week to recognize and raise money for the No. 1 killer of women: Heart disease.

Nearly 200 people attended, raising $26,000. The money will be used to buy automated external defibrillators to place in strategic locations throughout Sequim and Port Townsend.

"I'm very happy with the amount we raised," said Sara Maloney, event chairwoman.

"It's all about saving lives and that's an important health care outreach," she said about the decision to purchase the devices.

In 2008, a person was resuscitated at Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center using such a machine.

Amid a sea of red, keynote speaker Dr. Peter Albro, of Seattle, and guest speaker Dr. Rebecca Corley, of Sequim, educated guests on basic heart health and functions and the dangers of smoking cigarettes.

"We are all so focused on cancer that sometimes we forget about cardiovascular disease," Corley said.

"But the truth is, one in every three women will die of this disease."

Cardiac risk factors include family history, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity and smoking. While some of those factors are out of your control, smoking isn't.

In 1987, lung cancer surpassed breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the U.S, Corley said.

Recent statistics show that 430,000 people die each year in the U.S. from smoking-related causes. Worldwide, that number increases to 3.5 million deaths.

Secondhand smoke causes 50,000 deaths in nonsmokers.

Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, ear problems and more severe asthma, and yet 21 million, or 35 percent, of children live in homes where residents or visitors smoke inside on a regular basis.

Scientific evidence indicates that there's no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

In addition to the health concerns smoking poses, the habit is expensive, Corley said.

Smoking costs the U.S. more than $193 billion each year in lost productivity and direct health care costs.

People who smoke one pack per day spend about $130 a month on cigarettes - emptying their pocketbooks and increasing risk of stroke, lung cancer, chronic lung disease, coronary heart disease and several other deadly diseases.

Last year's Red, Set, Go! Heart Luncheon raised almost $30,000 and helped purchase 20 ambulatory monitors and DVDs for teaching in Olympic Medical Center's pulmonary rehabilitation program.

Next year's event already is being planned. The date is set for Friday, Feb. 26, 2010. All proceeds will benefit the Olympic Medical Center cardiac services department.

Reach Ashley Miller at

ashleyo@sequimgazette.com.

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