Riverside, CA

Carolyn Tillman

On Saturday, February 18th, over 750 women of all ages and ethnicities from Riverside and the surrounding communities gathered at the Riverside Convention Center with the unified spirit of learning more about women’s heart health.  Riverside Community Hospital’s 8th Annual Red Dress Fashion Show & Health Expo, “Rewarding Healthy Lifestyles” was a beautiful setting for women to hear from cardiovascular and bariatric physicians on hearth health, warning signs of heart disease and how weight loss and healthy lifestyle changes are huge factors in preventative measures. 

The event kicked off with a Health Expo – featuring 30 vendors from fashion retailers to makeup and jewelry. Many clinical vendors provided free health screenings to the women, including Body Fat and Body Mass Index, Sun Damage Skin Screenings, blood pressure, varicose veins screenings and Riverside Community Hospital’s HeartCare Institute providing Echo Cardiogram screenings. In addition, guests enjoyed massages provided by Brightwood College. 

After the expo, guests came together in the main exhibit hall to partake in a delicious luncheon and listen to the physician speakers.  Assistant Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations at Riverside Community Hospital, Cherie Crutcher, MC’ed the event with delightful Co-Host Shannon Fox, Ms. California 2017. Physician speakers included Dr. Fatima Hakkak, a board certified cardiologist, and Dr. David Suh, one of Riverside Community Hospital’s board certified bariatric surgeons. Guests also heard the moving testimonies of Mrs. Shirley Gibson, a heart attack survivor and past patient of the HeartCare Institute, and the journey of Samantha Timpson, past patient of the RCH Center for Surgical Weight Loss, who has lost a significant amount of weight to achieve a healthier lifestyle. 

Special guest speaker Monica Brant, Fitness Celebrity and Health Advocate, who has been in the industry for over 20 years as a fitness competitor and model, spoke of how sleep, nutrition, hydration, exercise and the balance of all those factors can improve women’s lives and reduce the risk of heart disease and other detrimental illnesses.  

The event concluded with the highly anticipated Red Dress Fashion Show, featuring fashions from some of downtown Riverside’s retailers. Every shade of red was represented in dresses ranging from cocktail dresses to evening ball gowns, including some fun casual looks provided as well.  The show featured several models that have achieved healthier lifestyles and lost significant amounts of weight.  These women were highlighted after the fashion show and awarded certificates for being an inspiration in our community. 

The Red Dress Fashion Show & Health Expo’s purpose was to bring awareness to the women in our community about the significance of heart disease and stroke.  As Dr. Hakkak informed guests, one in four women will die from heart disease in the United States.  Many women shared on their way out of the event how much they learned from the speakers and their presentations.  One attendee said, “I better understand the risks and factors of heart disease and plan on seeing my doctor immediately for a checkup.”  Another guest said as she left, “This event gets better and more informative very year! I can’t wait to see what they do next!”

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