I am proud to chair the 12th Annual Go Red For Woman Luncheon, which takes place October 29, 2015 on World Stroke Day. This event is the culmination of the year-long 2015-2016 American Heart Association Go Red For Women campaign.
It is a great honor to be the first male chair of this campaign and event. I value not only the women who work for Pike, but all the women in my life. Women are our wives, mothers, sisters, grandmothers, friends, neighbors and caregivers. As CEO of the Pike Companies I work with many amazing women and men who are much better due to the women in their lives.
So why am I involved with this campaign?
My answer is The Red Ladies. For the past eight years employees and friends of The Pike Company and LECESSE Construction Services have participated in a friendly fundraising competition benefitting the Rochester American Heart Association’s Go Red For Woman campaign.
“Lucky” individuals are nominated to be potential “Red Ladies”, usually with some hesitation. The Red Lady with the most money pledged against them “wins” the opportunity to parade around the office in a beautiful red dress. Oh, one detail… All of the nominated Red Ladies are men!
This group of men have all been great sports along the way. We have laughed a lot and we have raised some real money to fight heart disease, the number one killer of women. To date, the Red Ladies of The Pike Company and LECESSE Construction, have raised over $100,000 for the Go Red For Women movement through people pledging in their honor. Our company has matched every dollar raised by employees.
To give credit where it is due all of this craziness was started by Jack Dobberstein. Jack survived two open-heart surgeries that saved his life. This experience drove his support of the Rochester American Heart Association, first through the Heart Walk and then the “Red Ladies” campaign. Many co-workers and colleagues joined in and the campaign has grown in popularity and financial pledges each year.
We have had a lot of laughs along the way. It turns out that dressing male construction professionals in women’s clothing against their will is hilarious. We also hope that we have created some awareness and helped communicate the message that this is a disease that affects us ALL.
I am sure everyone, like me, has a connection to women and heart disease in their life. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women age 20 and over, killing approximately one woman every minute. We lost my grandmother, Virginia Pike Judson, much too early. She was in her early 60’s when she passed away of heart disease. Her impact on our family was indelible and her life was too short. More women die of heart disease than the next four causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer. Yet, eighty percent of cardiac events in women may be prevented if they make the right choices for their hearts, involving diet, exercise and abstinence from smoking.
Join me, Thursday, October 29th from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center, 123 Main Street East, to celebrate the Go Red For Women Luncheon. Not only will you enjoy a delicious lunch, but you will hear speakers that include Sharon Taylor, survivor and Program Administrator at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield; Linda Rinaudo survivor; emcee Ginny Ryan, WHAM-TV, myself and special guest speaker- Andrew Sykes.
Sykes, is a special guest speaker from South Africa and an entrepreneur with over 20-years of leadership, product innovation, sales and business development experience. He has successfully built and led companies in the United States, South Africa and Brazil. Prior to starting Habits at Work (formerly Health at Work Wellness Actuaries), Andrew was Chief Wellness Officer at the Vitality Group.
I hope to see you on World Stroke Day at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center to support the American Heart Association Go Red For Women campaign. For more information please visit www. RochesterGoRed.Heart.org. Follow us on Twitter @HeartROC. Use the hashtag #GoRedROC.
With Sincere Thanks,
RUFUS JUDSON, CEO of The Pike Companies