Alpha Phi to raise awareness of women’s heart health with gala

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“I remember sitting in class when my phone rang, and it was my step dad,” Courtney Hoover recalled. “I already knew something was wrong at this point but I never expected for him to tell me my mom was in the hospital for a heart attack. I was in shock and confused and quite literally had no idea what to think or say.”

Hoover, business management junior and Alpha Phi president, said her sorority’s upcoming event in support of women’s heart health means so much more to her than just a simple philanthropy event.

“Women’s heart health has impacted my life in multiple ways,” Hoover said, noting that it wasn’t only her mom who had a heart attack. Her grandmother did too. “I was a kid then but I still remember the panic.”

Alpha Phi will host the first Red Dress Gala in support of women’s heart health on campus Nov. 30, 6-10 p.m. The event will be held in CSC Comanche and to raise awareness of the leading cause of death in women.

Poster for Red Dress Gala.

Poster for Red Dress Gala. Tickets are $20 each.

“Our foundation funds research projects for heart health, scholarships for members, as well as emergency help for sisters in need,” Hoover said. “The significance of the Red Dress Gala is to raise both awareness and money for the heart health charity. We want to stop the panic, shock and pain of heart disease.”

Proceeds from the gala will go toward research and raising awareness of women’s heart health via the Alpha Phi Foundation. Red Dress Gala is one event Alpha Phi chapters nationwide put on, aiming to raise money for a great charity. The fundraising goal for the gala is $3,000.

“It’s a very popular event at other chapters, [it includes] alumni, plus it’s a fairly simple and fun event to put on,” Madelyn Williams, sports and leisure studies sophomore and vice president of community relations and president-elect, said. “People who attend will be contributing to a fantastic cause, and we hope to raise money for women’s heart health, as well as host a very memorable event.”

The planning process for the event took time, organization, and dedication, Jessica Hernandez, respiratory care junior and vice president of risk management, said.

“2019 will be my second year in the VP of risk management role. It’s my job to make sure everything that we plan is appropriate and safe,” Hernandez said. “When planning an event like Red Dress, I have to look into things like the venue and how much it costs as well as the safety aspect of things.”

Hernandez and Williams teamed up to plan the aesthetics and events of the gala to support the families of the 1-in-5 women in the U.S. who have died of heart disease.

“Mady [Williams] and I looked into decorations and whether it should be fancy or casual,” Hernandez said. “We also looked into the awards that would be given out and had to decide if they should be funny or be more meaningful, or a combination of the two.”

It is set to be a fun filled night of games, awards, presentations and more.

“We will be holding silent auctions, 50/50 raffles, and we will be doing a ceremony about women’s heart health,” Williams said. “Dinner and one raffle ticket will be included in ticket purchase, and we will be giving out awards for our chapter too. It is all about creating balance between fun and raising awareness of heart health.”

Hoover agreed.

“I am particularly excited for the silent auction as well as the other fun games and raffles that we will be doing to raise money,” Hoover said. “People who attend should get a lot out of the event, including a little more insight as to what Alpha Phi is all about and what the foundation does to help women.”

Every heartbeat makes us stronger but we must continue pushing forward to guarantee the heartbeat continues.”

— Courtney Hoover

The event could be a turning point for the chapter, biology junior Amelia Ecevido said.

“We don’t put on a whole lot of extravagant events that the whole campus community is invited to, minus ‘Phifa’ [a soccer tournament], that raise money for good causes,” Ecevido said. “This will be an amazing start for us to continue a wonderful tradition.”

The organization of such an event, Williams said, is very rewarding.

“It has been eye opening and humbling to get to put together this big event,” Williams said. “Heart disease is one of the biggest killers of women around the world and it gets far too little attention. I am so glad that we are bringing Red Dress Gala to Midwestern, and I hope it becomes a chapter and university tradition.”

Alpha Phi members are thoroughly looking forward to the event.

“I am looking forward to seeing the different alumni and community members that come out and support,” Ecevido said.

Hernandez said she was excited for the gala, but for more personal reasons.

“One of the main reasons I joined Alpha Phi was because of their philanthropy events,” Hernandez said. “For someone who is going into the medical field and has family members with heart problems, this event really hits home and means a lot to me. I am looking forward to educating people who attend about women’s heart health and overall hopefully seeing the success of hosting our first gala ever.”



  • “Over 44 million women are affected by heart health and they have a higher risk than men. It’s important that we educate about heart health when we can,” Jessica Hernandez, respiratory care junior and vice president of risk management, said.
  • Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women — one death every minute annually.
  • Up to 1.3 million Americans alive today have some kind of heart defect.
  • 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
  • Of African American women aged 20 and older, 49 percent have some kind of cardiovascular disease.
  • Hispanic women are 38 percent more likely than other racial groups to take action for their families regarding heart health, but in the process are more likely to ignore their own health. Hispanic women are more likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than non-Hispanics.
  • A study has shown that only 1-in-5 women believe heart disease to be her biggest threat to her health.


  • Tickets will be $20 each.
  • Everyone is eligible to purchase a ticket.
  • The dress code will be formal.


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