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Memorial Heart and Vascular Services to Sponsor Free Heart-Health Event for Women


Area women are invited to a free community event featuring fun and interactive breakout sessions to improve their heart health from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 12, at the Gus and Flora Kerasotes YMCA, 4450 W. Iles Ave.

Sponsored by Memorial Heart and Vascular Services, the event, Celebrate the Heart of a Woman: Spring Into Action, will also feature keynote speaker Dr. Giselle Baquero, an interventional cardiologist with SIU Medicine and co-director of SIU advanced structural heart disease program based at Memorial Medical Center.

Several breakout sessions will offer fun and easy ways to exercise and relax. They are "Boxing for Exercise and Balance," "Stability Balls for Strength and Core," "WERQ (a cardio dance workout)," "Chair Yoga," "Water Fitness," "Paraffin Hand Dip and Tips for Hand Arthritis," "Hand Massage" and "Sowing Seeds for a Healthy Heart" led by Erin Zepp, a registered dietitian and program coordinator for Memorial Diabetes Services.

Women who want to participate in the Water Fitness breakout session should bring their swimsuits; they do not need to know how to swim.

“Women can do so much to lower their risk of heart disease, including maintaining a healthy diet, managing their weight, exercising and controlling stress,” said Paula Harwood, a registered nurse and manager of cardiopulmonary rehabilitation and heart failure at Memorial Medical Center. “We’ll cover that in a fun way to help empower and motivate women to take care of their hearts.”

Many women mistakenly think heart disease primarily affects men, Harwood said. According to the National Institutes of Health, one out of four women in the United States dies of heart disease and 80 percent of women ages 40 to 60 have one or more risk factors for heart disease.

The free event is open to the public, but reservations are recommended. Comfortable clothing and shoes are encouraged for breakout sessions. Refreshments will be served.

To register, visit or call (217) 788-3333.