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Go Red Luncheon urges heart health

For the second year, the Franklin County Cooperative Extension and the Foster Grandparent Program teamed up to present the Go Red Luncheon at the A.W. Todd Centre to encourage heart health and raise awareness of heart disease, particularly as the No. 1 killer of women.

Thursday’s observance began with health screenings by local vendors, then the luncheon commenced, featuring a greeting from Russellville City Clerk Belinda Miller, a musical performance by 4-H agent assistant Jennifer Pickens and the personal stories of heart attack survivor Margaret Sharpley, a foster grandparent, and cardiac event survivor Clint Bustler, FUMC minister.

Margaret Sharpley
Margaret Sharpley

Sharpley was candid about her heart attack, which she suffered in summer 2016.

“I didn’t even realize I’d had my heart attack,” said Sharpley. It was her daughter who realized the change in her mother. “I stopped eating, and she knew something was wrong when I stopped eating. And I didn’t want to do anything but lay in the bed.” ECM put a stint in her heart, and then she underwent therapy.

Dr. Jeffrey Chenyi was the keynote speaker for the event.
Dr. Jeffrey Chenyi was the keynote speaker for the event.

“Take your heart seriously,” she urged luncheon attendees. “The doctors tell me I was blessed from God not to have died when I had my heart attack. God is in charge of everything, and he knew I needed a little while longer here on earth.”

Bustler recounted the experience as many of his organs seemed to stop functioning. “I got to where I couldn’t even walk to the bathroom,” he said. An echocardiogram revealed that his aortic valve had quit working. He went into surgery just two days later.

“I am working, and I am alive, and I am thankful to God,” Bustler said. “The most important heart I have is the heart of Jesus Christ.”

Chenyi regaled the crowd with a talk infused with personality and humor, sharing crucial facts about heart disease and heart attack, both risk factors as well as symptoms.

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