Red dresses and heart health

Four designer red dresses worn by celebrities on a New York fashion runway will be on display in Cayman next week as part of a heart

-health awareness campaign.

The Heart Health Centre has joined forces with the US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to bring The Heart Truth campaign to the Cayman Islands.

“One of our goals is to continue the momentum created by the Cayman Heart Fund and Heart Smart Week, including the recently held Live and Learn Red Dress Luncheon, to empower women to take control of their heart health,” said Jodie Kelley, education and programmes coordinator at The Heart Health Centre.

“Many women do not associate their own personal risk factors with heart disease,” said Jacqueline Ebanks, director and founder of the Heart Health Centre. “The Heart Truth aims to get this important message to as many women as possible with a very personal and urgent wake up call.”

Several events

This month, the Heart Health Centre will hold events over two days, including a seminar with healthcare providers, a free public awareness event, and The Heart Truth Champions training. Ms Ebanks explained that a Heart Truth Champion is someone

in the community who is interested in raising heart disease awareness. A National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute representative will train 25 local people to take a leading role in promoting The Heart Truth message and to help the programme continue and grow in Cayman.

The main Red Dress event, at which the public can learn about The Heart Truth, is free and will be held at Cassia Court in Camana Bay from 5pm to 7.30pm on Friday, 25 March. Local group Absolute Joy will provide music for the event, which is themed Heart and Soul, and members of the public will be able to sample delicious, heart-healthy refreshments and have the opportunity to win prizes.

Red Dress Collection

The highlight of the evening will be a display of dresses from The Red Dress Collection, which was designed to build awareness about women’s risk of heart disease and motivate them to take action to reduce that risk. The symbolism of the red dress links a woman’s focus on her “outer self” to the need to also focus on her “inner self,” especially her heart health.

The four designer red dresses winging their way to Cayman are among 22 worn by celebrities at the opening of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York in early February as part of the Red Dress Collection Fashion Show to raise awareness of women and heart disease. They were worn by

Suzanne Somers, Patti LaBelle, Ann Curry and Natasha Bedingfeld.

On display in Cayman will also be two pieces specially created by local designer Reba Dilbert for the Heart Health Centre and the local event, and made by Super Stitch tailor Constancio Fernandes. One of Ms Dilbert’s dresses is patterned after the old Caymanian-style of the 1900s, complete with an old Caymanian hat, while the other is a more modern evening gown with carnival flair.

“We are so excited about the dresses that will visit Grand Cayman as we seek to expand the message of The Heart Truth in the Cayman Islands, and also proud to have our very own local contribution to the project through the talent of Ms Reba,” said Ms Ebanks. “These four gowns are just a small part of The Red Dress Collection that travels around the United States and are put on display to send a very poignant and urgent message to women that ‘Heart disease doesn’t care what you wear – It’s the No. 1 Killer of Women’. We want to relay the same, sobering reminder to the women of Cayman.

“Heart disease doesn’t care what you wear – It’s the No. 1 killer of women” is The Heart Truth Red Dress campaign’s central message.

The Heart Truth

The Heart Truth is a US national awareness campaign for women about heart disease sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The campaign warns women about heart disease, which is the number one killer of women, and provides tools to help them take action against its risk factors.

The campaign is targeted to women ages 40 to 60 – the age when a woman’s risk of heart disease begins to increase, but the Heart Health Centre will be reaching out to women of all ages.

Ms Ebanks said: “Women are agents of change – making 80-90 per cent of the healthcare decisions for their families. What women learn about preventing cardiovascular disease and managing risk factors not only affects their personal health, but the health of their families and the entire community and thus the Island.”

The Red Dress Pin will be given out to attendees of Friday’s event.

“We have a fun evening planned as we continue to highlight The Heart Truth in the Cayman Islands, and we would like to take this opportunity to invite the Cayman public, especially our women, to save the date, Friday, 25 March,” said Ms Ebanks.

For more information about The Heart Truth, contact Jodie Kelley at The Heart Health Centre on 943-5800 or [email protected]


Ann Curry’s red dress may be one of the celebrity dresses on display in Cayman for the launch of The Heart Truth.