Chances are that, if you were in Alabama within the past 40 days or so, you were in pretty close proximity to an event hosted by the American Heart Association.
This was the most successful February the organization has had here in north and central Alabama. There was National Wear Red Day and the Red Couch tour. There were the Birmingham, Huntsville and Shoals Heart Ball galas. There was the West Alabama Heart Walk in Tuscaloosa, the Go Red For Women Legislative Breakfast in Montgomery and the Heart Walk Executive Breakfast in Birmingham. Three Little Red Dress parties took place within a nine-day stretch in the Magic City alone. We hosted the first Go Red Por Tu Corazon event in the Southeastern United States, for goodness sake! And we’re just scratching the surface.
By itself, the Red Couch Campaign consisted of 17 stops throughout the Birmingham metro area, covering 211 miles in 28 days. This volunteer-conceived campaign, exclusive to Birmingham, was built around the idea of creating a conversation about heart disease, the No. 1 killer of all Americans. Passers-by would have a seat on the couch and learn what they needed to know about heart disease. If they wished, they could film a personal heart story, or a message of hope and support. More than 100 did so.
Thousands more in central Alabama were made privy to the mission of the Red Couch Campaign and Go Red For Women. The Couch was the feature of no less than 16 TV and radio segments, as well as a handful of magazine spreads and newspaper features. Traffic at FollowThatCouch.com and the @followthatcouch Twitter was steady throughout the month of February as people tracked the loveseat from location-to-location.
And, of course, hundreds shared the nearly-infinite Go Red-themed blog posts here at the Heart Beat on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. (Alabama Media Group sponsors the Go Red For Women and the My Heart, My Life campaigns in north Alabama, and they make this blog possible!)
The Birmingham Heart Ball wrapped up a very successful night at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center last Saturday. About 900 attended the 26th annual event, making it one of the ten largest Heart Ball galas in country (out of more than 200). The numbers are still being sorted, but it looks like this year’s campaign raised nearly $1 million for life-saving research and education.