And it was, in another kind of way.
More than 500 men and women attended the American Heart Association’s Greater Hartford Go Red For Women Luncheon at the Connecticut Convention Center, an annual fundraiser designed to stress heart health and educate women about the importance of taking care of themselves.
“Women just don’t do it, they make themselves last and take care of everyone else,” said featured speaker Ginger Zimmerman, who underwent a heart transplant 15 years ago. The mother of three was just 32 years old when she knew she did not feel well, but doctors were stumped by what could be wrong. It took four years to finally determine that her heart was failing, and then she had the successful surgery.
“I celebrate life every day,” said the New York resident who has made a regular exercise regime and better eating habits part of her life. “I make plans and goals but don’t stress if they don’t get done when I want them to. You can’t control everything, and that is what you have to give into sometimes.”
Letting go of stress was the order of the day for many who took time off work to attend a variety of seminars and linger over lunch to hear Zimmerman’s story.
“A neighbor of mine comes every year and kept asking me to come, so this year I did,” Ronnie Christiansen said. The 48-year-old Middletown resident admitted she was less than attentive to her own health but she had a friend who suffered a heart attack over the summer, and that was a wake-up call for her.
“It’s true, I think women think nothing will happen to them,” she said. “And then when they don’t feel well, dismiss it because they don’t want to inconvenience the family. We can be so odd sometimes.”
It was also a chance for friends to celebrate Valentine’s Day all day.
“My husband and I are going to dinner tonight to celebrate our love,” said Amanda Morgan, a Windsor resident who had enjoyed makeup sessions and dressing in hats and boas at a photo booth, all activities featured at the event. “And I am going to lunch with my friends here today to celebrate my heart, their friendship and staying healthy.”