Star Jones talks about her heart, weight-loss surgery

Photo by Evelyn Cairns Ronnie Padmos of Trenton has her blood pressure checked by Katherine Paguette of the St. John Providence Health System during a health-screening clinic prior to the American Heart Association “Go Red for Women” luncheon Feb. 15 at the MGM Grand Detroit. Some 800 women, most wearing red, attended the luncheon, which featured a talk by Star Jones and raised approximately $700,000.

Photo by Evelyn Cairns
Ronnie Padmos of Trenton has her blood pressure checked by Katherine Paguette of the St. John Providence Health System during a health-screening clinic prior to the American Heart Association “Go Red for Women” luncheon Feb. 15 at the MGM Grand Detroit. Some 800 women, most wearing red, attended the luncheon, which featured a talk by Star Jones and raised approximately $700,000.

“I thought heart disease was an old white man’s disease, that heart disease didn’t happen to hot black women!” Star Jones confessed to an audience of 800 women Feb. 15 at the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” luncheon, which raised approximately $700,000.

Jones, the AHA’s national volunteer, TV personality (she co-hosted “The View” for nine years), attorney and author of three books, was the keynote speaker for the 10th anniversary “Go Red” luncheon at the MGM Grand Detroit.

A victim of heart disease, she underwent successful open heart surgery in 2010 and completed a grueling three-month cardiac rehabilitation program with a new lease on life and a mission to fight heart disease on behalf of others.

Jones admitted to undergoing weight-loss surgery in 2003, when she weighed 300 pounds.

“I had gone from sexy and full-figured to sloppy and fat,” she said.

After losing 150 pounds, she said she was practicing portion control, exercising and walking, but unexpectedly had heart palpitations and began feeling tired, short of breath and light-headed.

Jones was diagnosed with heart disease and advised to have open-heart surgery. She said that at first she declined the surgery, but when her doctor said she might eventually require a transplant, Jones agreed to a by-pass.

The speaker pointed out to the audience that, according to AHA statistics, one in three women will die of heart disease, which affects 42 million women despite educational campaigns.

Jones said she realizes that health is her greatest asset and that “we have to start making our own health our priority.”

“Heart health is my passion,” she said.

Deena Centofanti, anchor and health reporter for WJBK Channel 2, was the master of ceremonies at the luncheon, which was preceded by an auction, health screenings and displays of educational material and heart-healthy products.

A highlight of the luncheon was the presentation of a $400,000 check by Chevrolet from the auction of a one-of-a-kind Camero. Proceeds will benefit cardiovascular research though the Southeastern AMA.

Memorial Concert set

The Southern Great Lakes Symphony will honor the late Edward Kraynak, founder and longtime concertmaster of the symphony, at a concert scheduled for 3 p.m. March 10 at the Flat Rock Community Auditorium, 25600 Seneca.

Kraynak died Jan. 15 at the age of 93. A violinist, he also played with the Scandinavian Symphony Orchestra for 28 years, performing 26 concerts in Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

Current SGLS concertmaster Ioana Galu will play Elgar’s “Salut d’Amor” in memory of Kraynak

The program has been re-titled “A Musical Potpourri” and will include a reprise of the SGLS 2012 Downriver Idol contest winner David Martin’s singing of “Maria,” from “West Side Story.”

Also on the program is Martin’s composition “Those 20 Beautiful Children,” which will be dedicated to the schoolchildren who died in the Newtown, Conn., massacre.

Other selections will include Bizet’s “Carmen,” Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns” and Brahms’ “Hungarian Dance No. 5.” The concert will end with Strauss’ “Emperor Waltz,” which was played at the first concert of the Allen Park Symphony Orchestra (now the SGLS) in 1955.

For tickets, $25 ($10, seniors), call 734-246-2890 or go to www.sgls.org.

Dementia to be subject

A DVD for caregivers, “The Journey of Dementia,” will be screened at 10 a.m. March 7 and 14 at the Henry Ford Self-Help Center, 23400 Allen Road, Woodhaven.

There is no charge for the program, which will cover how to make the most of visits to doctors, legal and financial documents that should be available, support during emergencies, facility placement and end-of-life-care choices.

The DVD will be shown in two 90-minute segments. Snacks and beverages will be served.

To register, call Erica Hartman at 734-287-7858.

Coming up . . .

March 9 — Performers’ Showcase, featuring vocal, instrumental, dance and variety performances; noon to 6 p.m. at the Wayne County Community College Downriver Heinz C. Prechter Educational & Performing Arts Center, 21000 Northline, Taylor; no admission charge; for more information, go to www.wccd.edu.