About 170 red-clad women learned about caring for their hearts on Valentine's Day while supporting the American Heart Association.
They attended the third annual Go Red for Women Luncheon at the Lawrence Holidome. The benefit raised about $20,000, more than double last year's event, which raised $8,000.
"We had a terrific turnout," said Nicole Stuke, executive director of the American Heart Association. "It is a volunteer-driven event, and this year's success is due to the phenomenal committee that we had."
She also said the timing was better because the event was during American Heart Month and came on the heels of National Wear Red Day, which was Feb. 2. Last year's event was in April.
The Go Red event raised money to help fight and prevent heart disease, the No. 1 killer of women. Such funding is used at Kansas University.
Stuke said the association is currently funding $679,000 in research grants at KU's Lawrence campus and about $2 million at Kansas University Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan.
Celeste Frankenfeld, of the department of pharmaceutical chemistry, used such funding to develop a method to detect a short-lived molecule that interacts with heart cells and artery walls and causes heart disease.
Susan Lunte, a professor at KU, spoke about Frankenfeld's development at the luncheon. Frankenfeld received $25,000 for each of her two years of graduate study, which ended in January.
Other speakers included Linda Strole, a heart attack survivor, and Dr. Michelle Dew, of Cardiovascular Consultants.
Dew said that most women think cancer, especially breast cancer, is the leading killer of women. But it is cardiovascular disease.
"One in 30 will die from breast cancer, but one in two will die from cardiovascular disease," she said.
She said the death rate in men has been declining, but in women it has increased or remained steady.
Dew reminded women to know risk factors, which include age, family history, smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol and weight.
She said obesity is a growing problem with 35 million affected by diabetes.
"I talk about it (weight) multiple times a day," Dew said. "I have used the 'O' word and made some of my patients cry."
But sometimes she is thanked because her clients hadn't been called obese and just needed to hear it.
Dew encouraged women to begin with small steps such as using the stairs instead of an elevator. She recommends 30 minutes of "brisk activity each day."
"It's not the intensity that matters," she said. "It's the amount."
Betty Calhoun, Lawrence, said the event was informative.
"It made me want to go home and exercise more and pay closer attention to my diet," she said.
Lawrence resident Connie Cook agreed.
"It provided very valuable information," she said. "Many of the women at my table talked about how they would take the message back home and to their families."