Memorial Heart and Vascular Services to Sponsor Free Heart-Health Event for Women

Area women are invited to a free community event featuring Sonya Jones, first runner-up on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” in 2015 and a motivational speaker, from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, at the Kerasotes branch of the Springfield YMCA.

Sponsored by Memorial Heart and Vascular Services, the event, Celebrate the Heart of a Woman, will feature Jones speaking at 6:10 p.m. on the topic of “Biggest Loser and Beyond – A Healthier Life.”

Several breakout sessions will offer fun and easy ways to exercise and relax. They are “Exercise Options: Chair Yoga, Pilates, Hip Hop, Power Pump,” “Relaxation Room: Paraffin Hand Dip and Hand Massage, Essential Oils of Relaxation, Benefits of Better Breathing” and “Nutrition: I Know What I Should Do … Putting It Into Practice.”

“Women can do so much to lower their risk of heart disease, including maintaining a healthy diet, managing their weight, exercising and controlling stress,” said Paula Harwood, a registered nurse and manager of cardiopulmonary rehabilitation and heart failure at Memorial Medical Center. “We’ll cover that in a fun way to help empower and motivate women to take care of their hearts.”

Many women mistakenly think heart disease primarily affects men, Harwood said. According to the National Institutes of Health, one in four women in the United States dies of heart disease and 80 percent of women ages 40 to 60 have one or more risk factors for heart disease.

The free event is open to the public, but reservations are recommended. The YMCA’s Kerasotes branch is at 4450 W. Iles Ave. Comfortable clothing and shoes are recommended for the breakout sessions. Refreshments will be served.

To register, visit or call Memorial’s Healthline at (217) 788-3333.

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