If you happened to be in any Valley Central School District building on February 11, the red clothing worn by many of the district’s staff may have led you to believe that you wandered into a district-wide Valentine’s Day party. But it wasn’t Valentine’s Day that staff was celebrating; it was another February holiday that has to do with hearts – beating hearts.
National Wear Red Day is part of the Go Red for Women campaign, an initiative sponsored by the American Heart Association to raise awareness about heart disease in women. According to the Go Red for Women website, heart disease and stroke are responsible for one in every three deaths of women, but education and lifestyle changes can prevent cardiac events in a significant number of cases. The awareness movement aims to “inspires women to make lifestyle changes, mobilize communities, and shape policies to save lives.” Each year, on the first Friday in February, people across the country don red and donate money to the cause (Due to inclement weather, Valley Central postponed its observance this year to Feb. 11).
School nurses throughout the district collected donations from faculty and staff. Everyone who donated was invited to wear red, casual clothing as a visible sign of support for the cause. Between all seven buildings, the district raised $2,067. VCSD has participated in National Wear Red Day since 2004 and has raised $18,014 over the past 11 years.
“So many women right here in our community are directly impacted by heart disease,” said VCSD Central Registrar Janine Maridou, who has coordinated the fundraiser at the district since its inception. “National Wear Red Day is an opportunity to raise awareness and educate our employees about the ways we can improve our heart health and to support our mothers, sisters and friends in the fight against heart disease. Every year, I’m blown away by the generosity of our staff here at VCSD.”