UNION — A heart attack survivor’s story and the participation of local businesses and other organizations in a campaign to promote awareness of heart disease in women will be covered by WSPA Channel 7 which will be in Union this coming week and will broadcast live from Union throughout the day on Feb. 2.
February is Heart Awareness Month and Friday, Feb. 2 is National Wear Red Day, two events designed to raise public awareness of the threat heart disease poses to women. The events are promoted by the “Go Red for Women Campaign” and the American Heart Association which are urging people to wear red on Feb. 2 and is recruiting businesses and other organizations to participate in the “Paint The Town Red Project” which will be held throughout February.
Leading the effort in Union is Melissa Youngblood, known around the community as the face of The Union Connection Channel 192, who this year is one of the 12 spokeswomen for 2017-2018 Go Red for Women Campaign in the Upstate. Youngblood, who is herself a heart attack survivor, announced this week that WSPA Channel 7 will be coming to Union Monday and on Feb. 2 to cover local participation in National Wear Red Day and the Paint The Town Red effort.
“They are coming Monday at 9 a.m.,” Youngblood said Thursday. “They will first be filming my heart attack survivor story.”
Youngblood suffered two heart attacks in the space of a little over a year between September 2015 and October 2016. Those heart attacks changed her life and while she’s recovered, the damage done to her heart has drastically affected her health, including eliminating the possibility of her ever having children.
(For more about Youngblood’s personal story of being a heart attack survivor, see Wednesday’s edition of The Union Times.)
The heart attacks she suffered and the impact they had on her life and health has made Youngblood a committed advocate for promoting public awareness of the danger heart diseases poses for women. Since recovering from her last heart attack, Youngblood has been a participant in the Go Red For Women Campaign and, both last year and this year, has worked to encourage people to wear red on National Wear Red Day and to recruit local businesses and other organizations to take part in the Paint The Town Red project.
Her recruitment efforts have paid off, as this year more 54 local businesses and other organizations have agreed to help “Paint The Town Red.” Those businesses have agreed to do so by displaying Red Dress clings — the symbol of the Go Red For Women Campaign — in their storefront windows. On Monday, Youngblood will be taking those Red Dress clings to the participants and the WSPA news crew will be accompanying her.
“They will be following me around to some of the businesses participating in Paint The Town Red,” Youngblood said. “They will be filming me delivering the window clings.”
The Friday, Feb. 2 visit by WSPA to Union will be for a “hometown spotlight” on how the community is rallying around National Wear Red Day and the Go Red For Women campaign. The footage of Youngblood telling her personal story as a heart attack survivor and her presenting local businesses with their Red Dress clings will be part of a larger coverage by WSPA of National Wear Red Day in Union which will include live broadcasts from Union throughout the day on Feb. 2.
The live broadcasts will be at the following times and feature interviews with the following individuals:
• 4:45 a.m. — City of Union Mayor Harold Thompson will present the city’s National Wear Red Day proclamation.
• 5:15 a.m. — Youngblood will speak.
• 5:45 a.m. — A local resident will tell about her family’s battle with heart disease.
• 6:15 a.m. — Piedmont Physics Garden will speak about their Heart Healthy Workshop.
• 6:45 a.m. — A local teacher will tell about his open heart surgery. Segment will also feature an appearance by local cheerleaders.
• 7:15 a.m. — A local teacher will tell about a heart study in class.
• 7:45 a.m. — A local business will tell about their Go Red decoration and church activity.
• 8:15 a.m. — A local restaurant shares about a heart healthy dish.
• 8:45 a.m. — A local business tells about their Go Red decoration and their connection to heart disease.
While WSPA will be covering National Wear Red Day in Union live, social media will also be involved. Those who wear red that day are encouraged to take photos of themselves wearing red and refer them to the hashtags #goredunionsc and #goredupstate.
As for why the public is urged to wear red on Feb. 2 and businesses and other groups are urged to participate in the Paint The Town Red campaign, is that it memorializes or honors those who have been affected by heart disease or stroke.
In addition to displaying the Red Dress clings, businesses and other organizations participating in Paint The Town Red can also decorate their storefront windows with items that promote awareness of the threat heart diseases poses to women. Those who decorate their storefronts are entered into see which one did the best job of painting the town red with the winner receiving the title of “Best Go Red Window” and a gift basket. The SCWorks office on Main Street in downtown Union was the winner in 2017.
The following businesses and other organizations are participating in the Paint The Town Red project:
• Union County Department of Juvenile Justice
• USC Union
• Union County Arts Council
• People’s Choice Insurance
• Keepsake Jewelers
• Elle′ Bell Cafe′
• Union County Museum
• State Farm Insurance — Ashley Turner Agency
• State Farm Insurance — Brian Tolbert Agency
• State Farm Insurance — Letha King Agency
• Union Cash Advance
• Union Family Pharmacy
• TC Jewelers
• Smith’s Jewelry Store
• Union County Airport
• Union County Career Center — HOSA
• Elaine’s Dance Company
• Something Special
• Shear Class Salon
• Union County High School Junior Civitan Club
• Bantam Chef
• Andy’s of Buffalo
• Gene’s Fine Food
• Waffle House
• Midway BBQ
• T&L Diner
• City of Union
• Unique Steps Dance Studio
• Hair & Moore
• Union County YMCA
• Economy Office Supply
• Union County Department of Social Services
• Local Finance and Tax Service
• Buffalo Elementary School — Denise Palmer’s Second Grade Class
• Buffalo Elementary School
• Meansville-Riley Road Water Company
• 1st Franklin Financial
• Shady’s Food and Spirits
• Dianne Martin & Associates
• Union Medical Center
• Union Post Office
• Jordan’s Ace Hardware
• Visible Difference Styling Salon
• Fringe Hair & Tan Salon
• Union County Chamber of Commerce
• Rhinehart Fire Service
• Roberts Accounting
• Southern Pearls & Charm
• The Union Times
• Main Street Junction
• Primped and Polished Salon and Spa
• Union County News
• WBCU Radio Station
• Union County Courthouse
• Monarch Elementary School
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.