For Morgan Kapels, heart disease is all too familiar.

"Unfortunately, I've known a lot of women that heart disease has affected," she said.

Heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, killing 289,758 women in 2013. That’s about 1 in every 4 female deaths. Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms, also according to the CDC, which noted one can still be at risk for the illness despite showing no symptoms of it.

Kapels, a speech-language pathologist for Columbus Community Hospital's Rehabilitative Services, is trying to do her part to drastically reduce those statistics. She also serves as chairwoman for the American Heart Association Go Red For Women's local Circle of Red group. Circle of Red is made up of people dedicated to making an impact in the fight against heart disease and stroke. The Columbus branch has about 40 members, according to Kapels, and is hoping to increase that next month.

The local group, in partnership with CCH, is hosting the 2018 Heart Healthy Cooking Class and Hands-Only CPR Training from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9, in the Columbus Wellness Center's multipurpose room. During the event, members will take part in an interactive cooking class to learn easy dishes that are also healthy and delicious. While the food simmers, members will have the opportunity to learn hands-only CPR, a lifesaving technique used on teens or adults who are experiencing cardiac arrest.

"I think women taking control of their health by becoming more educated and informed is extremely empowering," Kapels said. "There are so many things we can do to maintain our health and prevent heart disease."

The local Circle of Red movement started three years ago and grew significantly over the last year, according to Kapels, She said the event is specifically for current members as a thank you, but added people who are interested in attending and learning more about the group can do by calling her at 402-562-3333.

Participants will leave with plenty of information that can help them in the kitchen and everyday life, however, some will also walk away with some KitchenAid appliances. Kapels said the hospital will have a giveaway for a mixer, blender and food processor before the night's over.


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