Vallejo Mayor Bob Sampayan is involving himself in the fight against women’s heart disease this month, as he’s scheduled to be a VIP at the upcoming American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Luncheon, event organizers announced.
He’s going as the guest of Dori Pettigrew, who spent a month at the Kaiser Permanente Rehab Facility last year, they said.
The May 11 event, to be emceed by KTVU anchor Heather Holmes, is expected to draw more than 400 to the Rohnert Park DoubleTree Hilton, organizers said. The event is by ticket only and is sold out, organizers said.
“She’s a good friend to my wife and me, and (Pettigrew) asked us to attend,” Sampayan said. “She has a tearful story about how she literally died on the table during open heard surgery, when the doctor had to massage her heart as they prepared to hook her up to everything, so she could live.”
Pettigrew said that while she and the Sampayans are old friends, his concerns about heart disease aren’t new.
“He has been a huge supporter of Go Red for Women,” she said. “Educating women on how heart disease affects them personally and differently from men is something he is passionate about.”
Describing Pettigrew as “a wonderful woman,” Sampayan said he’s “excited about her being one of the faces of the American Heart Association. She’s one of their success stories.”
This annual North Bay gathering of hundreds of business, health care and community leaders will be an acknowledgment and celebration of local heart disease and stroke survivors, organizers said. Besides Holmes as emcee, this year’s event includes a survivor fashion show and local fitness trainer Jennifer Esperante as keynote speaker, organizers said. Sponsors include Kaiser Permanente, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medtronic.
Making a positive impact on cardiovascular disease is why they’ve been producing this event for 11 years, spokeswoman Terry Sue Mock said.
“It’s always held on the Friday before Mothers Day,” she said.
“Cardiovascular diseases, which includes stroke, claim the life of a woman about every 80 seconds,” event organizers said. “But about 80 percent of cardiovascular diseases may be prevented. As the No. 1 killer of women — claiming the lives of one in three women — cardiovascular diseases force us to consider that a woman we know and love may be affected at any age. In fact, today heart disease claims more lives than all forms of cancer combined. There is good news: heart disease and stroke may be prevented by understanding your family health history, knowing your numbers and making simple lifestyle changes.”
Contact Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at (707) 553-6824.