Desiree Tunnell named the American Heart Association Go Red for Women’s® Central Virginia Woman of Impact™ Winner

(RICHMOND, VA), (Apr. 9, 2024) — Desiree Tunnell, has been named the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Central Virginia 2024 Woman of Impact Winner for her work to raise funds and spread awareness in the fight against heart disease and stroke in women and improve health and well-being in the local community. In the United States, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women, claiming the lives of 1 in 3 women.

Over the course of nine-weeks, Tunnell, along with a team of family, friends and colleagues, competed for the Woman of Impact title by participating in various community awareness and fundraising activities. After raising critical funds and driving women’s health education initiatives, Tunnell was named this year’s winner. Tunnell was personally affected by heart disease after discovering that she had been living with a congenital heart defect in 2021.

“On February 15, 2022, I underwent minimally invasive mitral valve surgery. Not only was it lifesaving, it was also life-changing,” said Tunnell. “I am grateful and honored to be nominated as a Woman of Impact, especially after cardiovascular disease's impact on my own life over the past five years.”

The Woman of Impact campaign is part of the American Heart Association’s signature Go Red for Women’s movement, a comprehensive platform designed more than two decades ago to increase women’s heart health awareness and serve as a catalyst for change to improve the lives of women globally.

The Woman of Impact campaign launched in over 100 cities on National Wear Red Day, Feb. 2. In Central Virginia, six community leaders were nominated to participate. Collectively, this year’s Central Virginia nominees raised nearly $50,000 for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement locally.

Other local nominees included:

  • Kellie Lipscomb, public servant and cheer coach from Dinwiddie
  • Andrea Woie, Director of Youth Ministry at Third Church from Henrico
  • Melodie Henderson, educator and administrator at Chesterfield County Schools from Chester
  • Michelle Jones, Community Outreach, Housing, Financial, and Workforce Development Advocate for the state of Virginia from Chesterfield
  • Erin Edgerton, social media professional at UVA from Charlottesville

“We are so grateful to Desiree and all of our nominees for their work elevating the Go Red for Women message and raising critical funds in support of our local mission,” said Chandra Hurst, American Heart Association Central Virginia Board Chair. “While our work is far from finished, we’ve made considerable progress. We are stronger, and our future is brighter.”

 

Women naturally experience unique life stages that increase their risk of developing cardiovascular disease over the course of their lifetime. While the large majority of cardiac events can be prevented, cardiovascular disease continues to be a woman’s greatest health threat, as nearly 45% of women over age 20 are living with some form of CVD.[1]  Women involved in Woman of Impact are paving the way for the future of women’s heart health and enabling more women to live longer and healthier lives.

To learn more about the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement in Central Virginia visit heart.org/Virginia.

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About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for a century. During 2024 - our Centennial year - we celebrate our rich 100-year history and accomplishments. As we forge ahead into our second century of bold discovery and impact, our vision is to advance health and hope for everyone, everywhere. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, X or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

About Go Red for Women® 
The American Heart Association’s signature initiative, Go Red for Women®, is a comprehensive platform designed to increase women’s heart health awareness and serve as a catalyst for change to improve the lives of women globally. While the majority of cardiac events can be prevented, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women, claiming the lives of 1 in 3 women. For more than two decades, Go Red for Women has encouraged awareness. The movement harnesses the energy, passion and power of women to band together and collectively wipe out heart disease. It challenges them to know their risk for heart disease and take action to reduce their personal risk. It also gives them tools they need to lead a heart healthy life. The Go Red for Women movement is nationally sponsored by CVS Health, with additional support from national cause supporters. For more information, please visit GoRedforWomen.org or call 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721). 

 

For Media Inquiries: 214-706-1173

Audry Dubon: 804-380-6877; audry.dubon@heart.org

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

heart.org and stroke.org

 

[1], [1][1], [1][1][1] , [1]V   Tsao CW, Aday AW, Almarzooq ZI, Anderson CAM, Arora P, Avery CL, Baker-Smith CM, Beaton AZ, Boehme AK, Buxton AE, Commodore Mensah Y, Elkind MSV, Evenson KR, Eze-Nliam C, Fugar S, Generoso G, Heard DG, Hiremath S, Ho JE, Kalani R, Kazi DS, Ko D, Levine DA,Liu J, Ma J, Magnani JW, Michos ED, Mussolino ME, Navaneethan SD, Parikh NI, Poudel R, Rezk-Hanna M, Roth GA, Shah NS, St-Onge M-P, Thacker EL, Virani SS, Voeks  JH, Wang N-Y, Wong ND, Wong SS, Yaffe K, Martin SS; on behalf of the American Heart Association Council on  Epidemiology and Prevention Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2023 update: a report from the American Heart Association [published ahead of print January 25, 2023].

Circulation. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000001123