This year, CMC invites the community to a day of screenings, education and demonstrations associated with cardiovascular health on Saturday, Feb. 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Clarence Brown Conference Center.
“We really would love for our community not to need us at all, so we’re educating about lifestyle modifications and what contributes to increased risk for heart disease and what you can do to change those things,” said CMC Cardiovascular Service Line Director Sarah Demmin. “The second thing is, that we really want people to know that if they experience a heart attack that we can care for them in Cartersville.”
Cartersville Has Heart began three years ago with the certification of CMC as an accredited Chest Pain Center. Since then, the event has evolved as the Cardiovascular Services Department grew, including the construction of CMC’s $3 million cardiac intervention lab in 2011.
“The event started as a push for community education for our chest pain accreditation and has just grown from that point to something the hospital has owned and takes the opportunity to educate our community as much as possible about heart health,” Demmin said. “It really became a focus for the hospital after we opened our interventional cath lab where we treat heart attacks and are able to open up blockages when people are experiencing an emergency.”
Interventional cardiac procedures are used to clear blockages before or during an emergency. The hospital’s record stands at 18 minutes from an emergency situation entering the building until the blockage was cleared.
Next week’s event, however, is aimed at preventing such situations and helping in that promotion is special guest and keynote speaker Abby Rike, season 8 contestant of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” This year’s event has even taken her name, as CMC expanded the program to “Cartersville Has Heart. And Abby!”
“This is a phenomenal opportunity. We were thrilled to join forces with Abby, because she has a way of bringing home the importance of taking care of yourself,” Demmin said. “For her, there was a tragedy that brought that into focus. She had actually quit taking care of herself and then came back around through ‘The Biggest Loser.’
“We want to take care of ourselves and we want to teach our children the importance of that as well.”
The loss alluded to by Demmin was a fatal car wreck in which Rike lost three members of her family. In 2009, Rike took part in “The Biggest Loser,” a reality TV show where participants compete in a weight loss challenge. During a boot-camp style session of “The Biggest Loser,” Rike lost 46 pounds and then lost an additional 54 pounds before the season finale for a total loss of 100 pounds.
Rike will present a program she calls “Working it Out” at Cartersville Has Heart. And Abby! at 2 p.m. followed by a meet and greet for guests at 3 p.m.
“It’s great anytime there is a community-wide event where people can go to get real information and hopefully have a fun time in the process,” Rike said. “My talk will be about whole health — the mind, the body and the spirit. While physical health is important, so is the rest of your life. It’s really impossible to be healthy if something else in your life is out of whack or out of balance.”
She also hopes to share with others the concept that anyone can see similar results if they work at it. Rike emphasized that while the show was a catalyst for her, it doesn’t take a reality TV show to lose weight and get healthy.
“‘The Biggest Loser’ was a great opportunity for me to lose weight quickly, but it was only six months of my life and wellness is a lifetime commitment. I wish there was a magic pill, but there’s not,” Rike said. “It’s easy to think that weight loss is impossible, but I think seeing and meeting someone normal that has been through it — even if it was on a crazy reality TV show — can help others realize that it is possible.”
Throughout the day, Cartersville Has Heart will provide health screenings, interactive medical stations and demonstrations, children’s activities, EMS and helicopter ambulance demonstrations, fitness and nutrition information and reduced cost angio screenings. Also available all day will be the AmeriHeart, the world’s largest inflatable anatomically correct, walk-through heart.
From 11 a.m. to noon, there will be jump rope team demonstrations and at noon Harbin Clinic Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Maxwell Prempeh will present a patient story of a cardiovascular emergency and the care received at CMC. At 12:15 p.m., Mrs. Georgia International 2012 Emily Yake will make an apparence followed by a fitness fashion show at 1 p.m. and Rike at 2 p.m.
The free community event will be at the Clarence Brown Conference Center, 5450 Ga. Highway 20, Cartersville, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9. For more information, call 1-800-242-5662.