TYLER, Texas, April 4, 2023 – The American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization devoted to a world of healthier lives for all, announces Lecia Bowman, chief nursing officer at UT Health East Texas Tyler and UT Tyler Health Science Center, and Donna Bowers, regional director of Cardiovascular and Oncology Services at UT Health East Texas, as the community volunteer co-chairmen of the 2023 Tyler area Go Red for Women movement.

The movement will culminate with the Tyler Go Red for Women’s luncheon May 16 at the Green Acres Crosswalk Center. The event will be 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and is expected to draw about 250 local women.

Go Red for Women is a worldwide initiative of the American Heart Association designed to increase women’s heart health awareness and serve as a catalyst for change to improve the lives of women locally, nationally, and globally.

Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States, claiming more lives each year than all forms of cancer combined. Cardiovascular disease continues to be a woman’s greatest health threat, taking the life of one in every three women. On average in Smith County, heart disease claims the lives of 327 residents each year. And stroke claims the lives of 108 residents each year, leaving hundreds more with long-term disabilities.

Bowman’s motivation for her involvement is her family. Both her parents suffered from heart disease, and her father died following a heart attack. That’s not what she wants for her loved ones.

“I am committed to making positive change within the healthcare sector to ensure that my loved ones have access to the best care, should they ever need it,” she said. “It is important to me that I be able to share a long and healthy life with my family.”

Throughout her nursing career, which included time as a labor and a delivery nurse, she’s been focused on the health of women and children.

“I recognize that heart disease is the number one killer of new moms, and that most of these deaths could be prevented,” she said, “That compelled me to want to help make a difference and encourage others on their journey to better health.” Bowman describes Go Red for Women as “a great way to encourage women to come together, enjoy each other’s company and be empowered to prevent and/or recognize heart disease in themselves and their loved ones.”

She’s been involved with the Go Red for Women movement in Tyler since its inception four years ago.

Her co-chairman, Bowers, said she volunteers for the American Heart Association because of the work it does to help educate patients, their families and their communities about heart disease and the impact that healthy eating and exercise can have on health outcomes.

“Everyone knows someone who has had heart issues or a stroke, including myself,” Bowers said. “I have an uncle going through treatment right now, and lifestyle has played a major role in his heart disease.”

“During my year as chair – as probably with any chair – I would like to see more women involved as leaders so we can make a more positive impact on all women,” Bowers added.

Funds raised by the Tyler Go Red for Women Luncheon will be used to bring awareness to cardiovascular health and Life’s Essential 8 – a checklist for lifelong good health: eat better, be more active, quit tobacco, get healthy sleep, manage weight, control cholesterol, manage blood sugar and manage blood pressure.

“We are excited to have Donna and Lecia leading this year’s Tyler Go Red,” said Nicolette Billups, corporate development director for the local Go Red movement. “We are working to ensure every woman in our community knows that up to 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented. Together, we can save the lives of the mothers, sisters and friends we love.”

In addition to Bowers and Bowman, the Tyler Go Red for Women executive leadership team includes Christine Armstrong with Rudish Health; Tonia Bickham with Imagine360; DeLeigh Haley, UT Health Jacksonville, Brenda McBride, UT Health East Texas, LeaAnn Ramsey Fritz, Ramsey Fritz Jewels; and Jennifer Rummel, UT Health East Texas.

The 2023 luncheon is supported by platform sponsors UT Health East Texas and the University of Texas at Tyler, legacy sponsors Vicki and John Crum and media sponsors KLTV 7 and Lamar Advertising.

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About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For Media Inquiries

Cyd King: M 479.263.8473cyd.king@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org