Community

Inaugural Red Dress fundraiser aids heart and stroke foundation

A night of elegance and poise was celebrated last Saturday night as the inaugural Red Dress Event fundraiser for the B.C./Yukon Heart and Stroke Foundation.

The event, held at the Bottega in Kelowna, was sold out with 150 guests, raising $22,000 for the foundation.

Among the highlights were a silent auction, lipstick bar and a two part fashion show showcasing stunning dress wear and accessories supplied by Mavazi Apparel, Bella Clothing Boutique and several other Kelowna clothing stores.

The dresses were modeled by local women of all ages who have personally been touched by either heart disease or stroke.

I had the pleasure to speak with a 20-year volunteer of the heart and stroke foundation, who four years ago suffered from two heart attacks in just one week.

Just one month prior to those heart attacks occurring, Carol Wargen had been told by her doctor the likelihood of having a heart attack would be doubtful due to her healthy lifestyle.

Wargen displayed no visual signs of the heart attacks from four years ago, but it’s no doubt still very much a part of her life.

To fight back, Wargen takes medication every day and travels down to Vancouver once a month to contribute to a research study to help shine some light on this type of non pre-existing heart condition.

Wargen, joined by her daughter Tera, also a long-time supporter of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, were in great spirits last weekend sharing their story with others and canvassing for the cause.

The Red Dress Event was held for the first time in B.C., and required the organizing efforts of some 50 volunteers to make it happen here in Kelowna.

At the event, a young lady named Savea shared an emotional story of her best friend, Andrew, who unfortunately lost his battle against heart disease by succumbing to a heart attack at the age of 28.

Savea, now a volunteer with the Heart and Stroke Foundation, offered words of wisdom which is the code she lives by—diet and exercise.

Kelowna firefighters also made a generous donation and volunteered their time to help serve the dinner for the evening, provided by The Hungry Chief. “It’s always a treat to come out in the community and to do an event that is so well organized like this, it is always fun,” said Kelowna firefighter Chris Orban.

Another guest speaker, Sarah Williams, shared her courageous and shocking experience of living through a stroke at the age of 26.

Her mother was also in attendance, and listening to her daughter’s story still generates emotions for her, something that was readily evident and provided a poignant moment for everyone in attendance.

Williams encouraged women to be aware of the symptoms of heart and stroke and for women to become their own nurse.

She noted that one in three Canadian women will fall victim to heart or stroke.

The Red Dress Event helped create greater awareness that heart disease is common amongst women of any age.

“Thank you so much to everyone who supported this amazingly successful night.

“We look forward to next year,” said Joanne King, with the Kelowna branch of the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

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