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Photo by Rebecca Henely
By Rebecca Henely

A local committee to raise awareness of women’s heart disease gathered at Citi Field Monday morning in preparation for its fifth annual fund-raising dinner.

“It’s the No. 1 killer of women in Queens and across the country,” said Jessica DiMeo, spokeswoman for the American Heart Association.

The Queens and Long Island chapter of Go Red for Women, an initiative of the American Heart Association, is holding a $125-plate dinner Tuesday, May 15, from 3:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Terrace on the Park, at 52-11 111th St. in Flushing.

In anticipation for the event, the committee members wore red dresses — the symbol of the campaign — or red ties and went out on the baseball diamond and in one of the dugouts at Citi Field. The New York Mets baseball team, which plays out of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park stadium, is one of the major corporate sponsors of the dinner.

Others include New York Hospital Queens and News Corp., which owns TimesLedger Newspapers.

The dinner will include silent and Chinese auctions as well as women speakers who have suffered from strokes and heart problems. Dr. Diane Sixsmith, chairwoman of emergency medicine at New York Hospital Queens in Flushing and the fifth annual dinner, said the committee hoped to raise $100,000 after costs for the event.

The money will be used to fund education programs about the disease.

“I feel very happy because Queens is a very ethnically diverse community and getting the message across to many different people is important,” Sixsmith said.

She said while heart disease is deadly, it is preventable with lifestyle changes. She encouraged women to get their blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked regularly, to exercise three to four times a week, to eat healthily and visit the doctor once a year.

Go Red for Women hopes to reduce heart disease and strokes by 20 percent by 2020.

In addition to the fund-raising, the dinner will also honor three women.

One of the honorees, Pat Thompson, of Bombradier, which operates the AirTrain to John F. Kennedy International Airport in Jamaica, said she was humbled to be recognized and planned to use the honors to educate women, especially in minority communities.

“I thought about what I could do after the 15th, because to me that’s more important,” Thompson said.

More information about the Go Red campaign can be found at goredforwomen.org.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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