Sorority promotes awareness of heart disease

Drew Taylor

In an effort to promote awareness of heart disease, which is a leading cause of death in women, the Alpha Phi sorority is doing its part this week, known as “Heart Week.”

February is American Heart Disease Awareness Month.

In a report released in 2007, heart disease was reported to be the leading killer of women in the United States. The American Heart Association said in a report that heart disease kills one American every 34 seconds.

Erin Brasch, president of Alpha Phi, said various chapters throughout the nation promote awareness of the disease every year, but that this is the first year the UA chapter has done work.

“We want to promote awareness within the Tuscaloosa community,” Brasch said.

The week began Monday with a cardio workout at the Student Recreation Center.

In addition, Brasch said various members of the sorority would be setting up a table at the Ferguson Center throughout the week, handing out cards with health tips to combat heart disease.

“We’re basically trying to tell people what heart disease is,” Brasch said. “We’re also trying to tell people about different ways to prevent heart disease such as not smoking and eating healthy.”

Last Friday, the sorority wore all red for a day to promote awareness of heart disease, which Brasch said was a success.

Brasch said the main event this month will be the Red Dress Gala, which will be Feb. 27 at the Tuscaloosa Country Club. The black-tie event will feature a silent auction, offering several basket items with a specific theme such as college sports or wine and cheese. Various Tuscaloosa businesses donated the items. In addition, the auction will also benefit the Alpha Phi Foundation, which supports initiatives like leadership programs.

Brasch said she is expecting approximately 100 to 150 people from the community to attend the event.

Despite the seriousness of the disease, some students are unaware of the work going this month.

“I didn’t know it was Heart Awareness Month,” said Paul Toth, a freshman majoring in chemical engineering.

Despite being unaware at first that February was Heart Disease Awareness Month, Toth said that knowledge of the disease is very important.

“Heart awareness is important because it’s fatal and a major threat,” Toth said. “It’s also very hard to treat, so if you’re aware of it, you can catch it early and not have to wait for a heart donor, which are hard to come by.”

Allison Gehl, a freshman majoring in music performance, said she too was unaware of the month, but agreed with Toth that advocacy of the disease is still crucial.

“It’s important because it affects so many peoples lives, whether it’s through a family or a friend,” Gehl said.

However, some students think that while advocacy of heart disease awareness is important, the disease itself is not as big a deal.

“It’s important, but it’s not that big a deal,” said Hank Both, a freshman majoring in chemical engineering. “People don’t really know about it.”