‘An Evening on the Runway’ Highlights Heart Disease

By Christine Valdez
Web Production Assistant

“An Evening On The Runway” 2013 fashion show participants. Photo Courtesy of Beth Akkaway.
New York may go red during fashion week, but in New Jersey, going red for one night during Women’s History Month turns out to be the time to raise awareness about heart disease.

In a partnership with Clara Maass Medical Center, both the Montclair and Nutley health departments will gather March 10 to host “An Evening on the Runway” as a way to raise awareness about heart disease, particularly among women. Currently heart disease is the leading causes of death in women and according to the American Heart Association about one in three women lives with cardiovascular disease.

“It is our hope that this event will highlight and create a greater awareness for women and their risk for heart disease,” said Clara Maass Medical Center Community Health Coordinator Beth Akkaway.

The American Heart Association says that nearly half of African-American women and 34 percent of white women suffer from cardiovascular disease. Heart disease rates among men have declined over the last 25 years but heart disease rates among women have decreased at a slower rate, according to the American Heart Association.

At the upcoming event, not only will heart disease be addressed but tips to living a healthy lifestyle will be shared among the audience, with Dr. Annette Cozzarelli of the Women’s Health Center at Clara Maass discussing various topics surrounding heart disease. According to Akkaway, topics will include proper nutrition, exercises, as well as understanding the signs and systems of a heart attack.

Following the discussion with Dr. Cozzarelli, a fashion show will begin featuring women of various ages who have had heart disease themselves. Some of the outfits used in the fashion show will be from local shops and boutiques.

The inspiration for the fashion show following the discussion was inspired by the Go Red For Women event during New York’s fashion week, which also aims to raise awareness about the issue.

“We thought it would be a fun idea to model our event after New York’s Go Red event during fashion week,” said Akkaway.

This year the event will be hosted at the United Way of Northern New Jersey at 60 South Fullerton Ave., Montclair. The first “Evening on the Runway” in 2013 was held at the Nutley Library.

This is the second year both Nutley and Montclair’s health departments and Clara Maass have partnered up for the event and Akkaway says that they hope to make “An Evening on the Runway” an annual event.

Organizers say the evening isn’t just for older women.

“Women of all ages are welcome to attend,” Akkaway said. “It’s never too early to begin living a healthier life and taking actions to lesser your risk of heart disease.”