2023 ‘Go Red for Women’ Luncheon Filled with Fierce Generosity

The Event: Go Red for Women Luncheon

The Cause: American Heart Association

Event Date: May 4, 2023

Location: Westin Kierland Resort & Spa

Event Chair: Riana Kielly

Passion Speaker: Sharla Fisher

National Sponsor: CVS Health  |  Local Platform Sponsor: HonorHealth |  Luncheon Presenting Sponsor: UnitedHealthcare

Notable Moments: The theme “May the Fierce Be With You ” resonated throughout the event as guests were treated to a heartfelt story told as a poem by Marlana-Patrice Pugh Hamer to kick off the program (we’ve shared it below!). In true Go Red tradition, guests wore red as they experienced several stories emphasizing the warning signs for heart disease and stroke as well as healthy habits to easily incorporate into today’s busy lives. To give thanks for the generosity shown throughout the paddle raise, the Arizona Diamondbacks gifted tickets to everyone who made a contribution. It was a powerful day of giving back to the American Heart Association!  

Photos courtesy of George Tenney | Jenny Kaufman of Xposed Capture Photography

2023 Go Red for Women Chair Riana Kielly
Sharla Fisher, 2023 Greater Phoenix Woman of Impact Madison Bustamante and Rebecca Clyde
Marlana-Patrice Pugh Hamer
Dr. Rachel Bond, Mia Chorney & Dr. David Majdalany
The Fisher Family
Emcee Kristen Keogh
American Heart Association Greater Phoenix Division Executive Director Debra Straziscar
The Scene

May the FIERCE Be with Us!

By Marlana-Patrice Pugh Hamer*

The stormtroopers are coming again!

Boarding up our windows,

blockading our homes

with a million sandbags

will not stop them

from raiding our villages

disrupting our lives!

They have already come

for too many of us.

Taken us to their Leader!

  • Retired Teacher, Louvenia Pugh, my mother. Died of congestive heart failure. Told she was TOO old for a pacemaker. Died at 84.
  • Actress Susan Lucci. Survived surgery for blockages she thought were “nothing.” Now 76.
  • Singer, Toni Braxton. Survived emergency heart surgery last December. Not her first time on the table. Now 56.
  • TV Producer, Nneka Garland. Died of a Heart Attack just this week. A Black woman in her prime. Only 49.
  • Actress, Jenny Garth. Survived leaky heart valves. Has a family history of heart disease. Now 51.
  • Poet & Retired Teacher, Marlana-Patrice Pugh Hamer. Survived a Hypertension, Stage 2 episode. Spent 5 Hours in EMS. Later took multiple heart tests including one for stress. Given New Meds. Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Heart. All fine for now. But stormtroopers are still detaining me. I’m watching them right now. I’m over 60.

Those Stormtroopers! Such menaces!

Still ready to steal more women of all ages

and races from their homes! Their jobs! Their families!

Casualties growing more and more each day,

but it does not have to stay this way:

Exactly 1 out of 3 women DIE each year! —

are dying from heart disease or stroke.

More than all cancers combined!

This is not a 1 out of 3 women’s battle.

This is everyone’s battle.

So put on our Red Jedi robes and prepare our lightsabers.

Be ready day and night to confront our enemies.

They are sneaky enough to show up, day or night,

to attack us silently. Ready to kill us.                                                                    

We must be ready to fight even when they

make our chests hurt,

make us lose our breaths,

make our arms ache,

make us break out in cold sweats,

make us feel nauseous,

make us lose our heads.


Yes, talking about the deadliest leader,

not Darth Vader. Talking about taking out

the Meanest and the Evillest LEADER!

The Number One Killer of ALL Women!


To win this epic fight,

we have to know our enemy.

Know about all their tricks

that might take us by surprise.

While in our first trimester.

Even during menopause.

Do our research thoroughly,

Learn all the signs.

Learn how to listen for the beats,

Never missing any beats

in our strategy.

Use our Jedi minds over matter.

Work together to finally

outmaneuver. Then conquer.

Always think. Always act like Jedi,

but our hearts are still HUMAN.

No amount of money has

made us immortal.

And yet, we can still live

while learning how

to keep our beats.

We can beat this disease!

Our Red Jedi robes on. Our lightsabers up!

Let’s teach the world what

FIERCE in combat REALLY means.

Let’s FIGHT with all our MIGHT!


Let’s conquer the ominous,

most omnipresent enemy!

Mean, Evil, Dreadful HEART DISEASE!

May the FIERCE be with us!

May the FIERCE be with us!

May the FIERCE be with us!

May the FIERCE be with all of us!

Disclaimer: * Marlana-Patrice Pugh Hamer owns the copyright to the entire poem.

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