‘Pro­tect our hearts’

Lo­cal busi­ness goes red for women’s health

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - TRI-LAKES EDITION - BY SAM PIERCE Staff Writer

Heart dis­ease is some­thing Brandi Hamil­ton knows very well. Her mom, Mar­garet Mur­ray, died from heart fail­ure in 2016 at age 52. “That is far too young for any one of us to go,” Hamil­ton said. “The ACDI (Ac­cess Con­trol De­vices Inc.), team is work­ing hard to em­power women to rec­og­nize the early warn­ing signs of [heart dis­ease] and the re­sources that are pro­vided to pro­tect our hearts in ev­ery way.”

ACDI, a tech­nol­ogy-fo­cused com­pany in Ben­ton, wants to raise aware­ness of heart dis­ease, es­pe­cially in women, af­ter Hamil­ton’s mom died from com­pli­ca­tions of A-fib. Hamil­ton, who is the se­nior so­lu­tions spe­cial­ist at ACDI, said the key for her is to get the aware­ness out there.

“That’s my main ob­jec­tive here,” she said. “I didn’t know the sever­ity of A-fib un­til I had to deal with it with my mother.”

Ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion, Saline County ranks higher than Arkansas and the United States in the per­cent­age of peo­ple di­ag­nosed with di­a­betes, obe­sity and heart dis­ease. Stephanie Good­win, the peo­ple and cul­ture man­ager at ACDI, said it is pretty alarm­ing “how higher our county is com­pared to the na­tional av­er­age.”

“I think aware­ness [is one of the key fac­tors]. There hasn’t been enough in­for­ma­tion cir­cu­lated, so we are try­ing to get the word out.”

In an ef­fort to raise aware­ness, ACDI hosted a Go Red for Women event Feb. 1, which con­sisted of a healthy lunch and a chance for guests to meet sur­vivors of

heart dis­ease. ACDI has also planned a com­mu­nity event for Feb. 14 that in­cludes lit­tle boxes of choco­lates with heart-dis­ease facts at­tached to them.

“As peo­ple and cul­ture man­ager, my job is to make sure our peo­ple are taken care of and our cul­ture is main­tained by reach­ing out to the com­mu­nity,” Good­win said. “Phi­lan­thropy is re­ally im­por­tant and our main fo­cus.

“We have had sev­eral lo­cal busi­nesses join along­side us and help us out. We want to get the word out and be in­volved as much as pos­si­ble.”

ACDI’s main goal is to raise money for the 15th an­nual Go Red Lun­cheon, which will take place May 17 at the Lit­tle Rock Mar­riott. Tick­ets for the event are $200 each. The expo and auc­tion will be­gin at 10 a.m., fol­lowed by the pro­gram at noon.

Good­win, who is orig­i­nally from Lake Charles, Louisiana, said ACDI’s drive to part­ner with the Go Red for Women ini­tia­tive started last year, af­ter she learned of the

statis­tics for Saline County.

“The signs for heart dis­ease are pretty sub­tle,” Good­win said. “They usu­ally

con­sist of pain, dis­com­fort, short­ness of breath, chest dis­com­fort, a cold sweat and ex­haus­tion.

“They are sim­i­lar to heart-at­tack symp­toms. Women are more likely to ex­pe­ri­ence nau­sea or vom­it­ing,

but it could ap­pear as nor­mal ex­haus­tion.”

Good­win said ACDI is part­ner­ing with the River Cen­ter in Ben­ton in an ef­fort to re­duce women’s risk for heart dis­ease and stroke. Ac­cord­ing to the Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion, about one in three women don’t get enough phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity.

“We have great tech­nol­ogy at our fin­ger­tips to get women more ac­tive,” she said. “So that will be a huge push for us as well.”

The River Cen­ter in Ben­ton has car­dio equip­ment and strength equip­ment and is avail­able to all mem­bers, ages 12 and older.

Good­win said the ACDI will also part­ner with other busi­nesses in down­town Ben­ton, in­clud­ing Smith Cald­well Phar­macy and Burger Shack.

“The com­mu­nity has been ex­tremely sup­port­ive,” Good­win said. “The Ben­ton and Bryant school dis­tricts went ‘red’ on Fri­day with us and sent us some pic­tures.”

“We have to sup­port each other when we have events like this,” Hamil­ton said.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the Go Red Lun­cheon, visit

MARK BUF­FALO/TRILAKES EDI­TION

Brandi Hamil­ton, from left, Keli Colvin, Beth Nix, hold­ing her daugh­ter Eloise Nix, and Stephanie Good­win pose for a pic­ture dur­ing a com­mu­nity lun­cheon Feb. 1. The lun­cheon was in honor of Na­tional Go Red Day to help bring aware­ness of heart dis­ease. Hamil­ton, who is the se­nior so­lu­tions spe­cial­ist at ACDI in Ben­ton, said her mom, Mar­garet Mur­ray, died from heart fail­ure in 2016.

MARK BUF­FALO/TRILAKES EDI­TION

Stephanie Good­win, from left, Brandi Hamil­ton, Beth Nix and Keli Colvin stand in front of signs that fea­ture heart-dis­ease sur­vivor sto­ries. Good­win, the peo­ple and cul­ture man­ager for Ac­cess Con­trol De­vice Inc., or ACDI, in Ben­ton, is team­ing up with her co-work­ers to help raise aware­ness of heart dis­ease, es­pe­cially in women.

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