Hundreds returned to Go Red for Women Luncheon

Stroke survivor and ‘BetterU’ Pandemic Class Highlighted Event

On the Cover: In 2008, Lisa Silver, left, was driving with her friend, Christianne Smith, right, when she had a stroke. On Thursday, Nov. 12, Silver and Smith shared their story at the 2021 Capital Region Go Red for Women Luncheon at the Albany Capital Center. Smith co-chaired the Luncheon in honor of Silver. Go Red for Women works to fight heart disease in women, women’s No. 1 cause of death. Donations may be made to the Go Red movement at

ALBANY, N.Y. – November 12, 2021 — Lisa Silver was 38 when she suffered a stroke. Marcy Fiet was not quite 40 when she had a sudden coronary artery dissection. The 12 members of the 2020-2021 Better U class have reduced their risk of cardiovascular diseases through the heart health improvement program they wrapped up last week.

ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 12, the Capital Region Go Red for Women Luncheon celebrated these women – and more – at the Albany Capital Center, 55 Eagle St., Albany. Three hundred and seventy people joined in-person, which was digital in 2020.

Go Red for Women is the American Heart Association’s movement that empowers women to take control of their health and well-being. Heart disease is a woman’s No. 1 cause of death, but cardiovascular diseases, including strokes, are largely preventable with proper amounts of physical activity and healthy eating.

Members of the 2020-2021 BetterU class celebrate the completion of their heart health journey during the 2021 Capital Region Go Red for Women Luncheon at the Albany Capital Center on November 12. The 12-week heart-health improvement program began in February of 2020, went virtual for a while in the winter of 2020, then went on pause until August of 2021.

The event began with the Festival of Red from 10:30 to noon, with a silent auction, health info and dance demonstrations. Lunch and the program took place from noon to 1:30 p.m.

At 11 a.m., Heidi Cordi, M.D., Emergency Medicine Physician at Albany Med, and Marcy Fiet, who survived a sudden coronary artery dissection, presented a “goRed Talk,” discussing the myth that healthy women can’t have heart disease.

“Too often, people think that you have to be very unhealthy to have a heart attack,” Dr. Cordi said. “Marcy was young and healthy when she had a heart attack. Heart disease doesn’t discriminate. Rather than be discouraged by this, we need to take the opportunity to do everything we can to be as healthy as possible, so that if something happens, we can fight back strong. Knowing the warning signs is critical, too.”

Christianne Smith of Designsmith Studio and Michele Kollmer of CAP COM Federal Credit Union were the 2021 co-chairs of the Go Red for Women Luncheon. Kollmer co-chaired in honor of her sister who passed away of a heart attack at the age of 42, and shared her story at the Luncheon.

“I’d like to thank all our sponsors & guests for celebrating with us today,” Kollmer said. “I’m overwhelmed with the outpouring of support. This was the perfect way to honor my sister.”

“I am honored to co-chair this luncheon in celebration of my friend Lisa’s life,” Smith said. “Lisa suffered a stroke while she was driving the two of us to dinner. Since that day, I have realized, any one of us could be in the position of saving someone’s life…or not. By knowing the signs and acting quickly, YOU could make all the difference in the world. Lisa is with us today, and I applaud the work of the American Heart Association as well as Lisa’s courage so that she is able to flourish in the aftermath of her stroke.

I couldn’t be more proud of the work that this committee has done to create an empowering and educational day for all of us. Thank you to our team of superstars.”

Smith’s friend, Lisa Silver, shared her story during the Luncheon.

Maria Decker of Maria’s Smoothies and Bowls received the Jane Golub Crystal Heart Award for her longtime work with the Go Red for Women movement.

The 2020-2021 BetterU class has had a different journey than the past participants of the 12-week heart-health improvement program. They began their program in person in February 2020, and the pandemic soon shut that down. They met by Zoom for a while, until the program went on pause. In August 2021, they began meeting in person again. They celebrated their success at the Luncheon with a runway-style introduction.

Donations can still be made to the Go Red for Women Luncheon HERE.

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