Real Women Real Change Finalists Represent AHA

Updated:Apr 14,2014

INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 8, 2014) – Eleven central Indiana women have been named finalists of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) inaugural “Real Women. Real Change.” program, presented by UnitedHealthcare.

Each of the women made positive changes to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle – including losing weight, quitting smoking, reducing the number of medications they take and adopting healthier diets.

The 11 women of “Real Women. Real Change.” will serve as local ambassadors for Go Red For Women®, representing the AHA at select Go Red For Women events in 2014 while empowering women to take charge of their heart health. The women will participate in events including the Red Dress Dash on Feb. 4 and the Go Red For Women Celebration on Feb. 21.

“Heart disease is a silent killer, but up to 80 percent of heart disease is preventable by making small changes to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle,” said Dan Krajnovich, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Indiana and a member of the AHA’s Indianapolis board of directors. “UnitedHealthcare is honoring these inspiring women who are doing positive things for their heart health and the health of their families.”

AHA and UnitedHealthcare partnered on “Real Women. Real Change.” in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of Go Red For Women, a national movement that has raised greater awareness of heart disease – the No. 1 killer of women – and has helped save more than 650,000 lives.

After nominations were submitted, eight finalists were selected by a committee composed of Go Red For Women volunteers, and three finalists were selected by the public via an online vote. All 11 finalists are featured on They are:

Amber C.
Amber watched her parents struggle with their health and decided to end the generational cycle. She committed to eating better and being more physically active. She recently completed her second half marathon and has lost more than 80 pounds over the last three years.

Carla C.
Carla was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in November 2011. The shocking diagnosis spurred her to begin an exercise program of regular walking, and to change her diet by counting carbohydrates, reducing salt intake and preparing more healthy foods. She has lost 70 pounds, reduced the amount of medication she takes and brought her diabetes under control.

Carrie W.
Having a heart attack at 42 served as a big wake-up call for Carrie. She started exercising for the first time in her life, beginning by walking regularly and progressing to Zumba and other activities. She also adopted healthier eating habits and stopped smoking.

Melinda P.
Melinda is an “army wife” who works full-time and raises three kids. She didn’t exercise, and her diet consisted of fast food almost every day for lunch and sometimes for dinner. She chose to get healthier for herself and her family. Melinda now works out often, running and doing cross training, and she eats healthy foods and drinks only water.

Melody J.
Melody suffered a major heart attack and stroke in July 2012 when she was 53. She lost the use of the right side of her body and had challenges with her speech and writing. Through months of therapy and rehab, Melody regained the ability to walk, drive and communicate. She now walks every day and has adopted a low-sodium diet, inspiring her family and friends every day.

Monica V.
Monica began her journey to better health in December 2012, hoping to get in better shape for a vacation. She adopted a strict diet and a vigorous workout routine. She stuck with them and has lost 35 pounds to date.

Patrice H.
Patrice has a family history of heart disease and chose to start eating better and exercising more. She walks at least three times per week and commits to other exercise several times per week. She changed her diet to include more water, less sodium and trans fats, and she eats three healthy meals per day. Since June, she has lost 40 pounds.

Patty N.
Patty has battled her weight most of her life. After being diagnosed with high blood pressure, she knew it was time to make changes. Three years ago, Patty joined a weight loss program that helped her lose 50 pounds. Since then, she has adopted permanent changes to her diet, eating high-protein foods and lots of whole grains, beans, nuts and vegetables. She also started exercising and walks four to five miles every day.

Tammy D.
Tammy has lost 170 pounds in the last year by exercising and eating better. She started her journey by talking with her doctor about calorie intake and eating healthier foods. She also started exercising and now wakes up at 4:30 every morning to work out. Tammy’s story has inspired her family and many others, prompting her to consider becoming a health coach.

Tammy H.
Tammy wasn’t necessarily overweight as a child, but she might have carried a few more pounds than some of her classmates. By the time she hit her 20s, though, she had wide weight fluctuations and was gradually getting heavier and heavier. She decided to join a co-worker who was undergoing bariatric weight loss surgery. Since the surgery one year ago, Tammy has adopted healthy eating habits, and she works out twice a day, five days a week. Her efforts have resulted in a weight loss of 144 pounds.

Yolanda C.
Yolanda has made a commitment to exercising more and eating better. After having children, the weight she gained stuck with her, and due to inactivity the pounds added up. Yolanda made a decision to start working out, sometimes five times per week. She also started learning and implementing healthy recipes, snack ideas and food substitutions. The result – she’s dropped several dress sizes and can see her goal weight approaching.

Media contacts:
Tim Harms                                                                  Jessica Kostner
American Heart Association                                    UnitedHealthcare
(317) 732-4714                                                          (952) 979-5869                                    


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Indiana women who have made positive changes to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle were nominated to participate in our second annual "Real Women. Real Change." program presented by UnitedHealthcare. Nominations closed Nov. 1.

Last year 11 finalists were selected….read about them and get inspired to make your own changes.

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