Editors column: Red Out

I want to tell you a story of the last day of my 6th grade year.

That night I was celebrated my closest friend’s birthday by going to a West Michigan Whitecaps game. The day after we would be making the final preparations for my cousin’s wedding. It was going to be an amazing weekend to celebrate with my entire family.

After the game, I stayed the night at my friend’s house. When my dad picked me up and took me home, I noticed a few things were strange.

First, there was no one else home. It was just my dad and me. We had a wedding to get ready for! Where was everyone?

Well, I would soon find out when my dad put his arm around me. The rest of my family was across the state. Why? Because my grandpa had suddenly passed away.

Why do I talk about this dark moment in my life? Because it was believed that he passed away due to a heart attack. (I say it was believed because they were unable to do an autopsy due to his religious beliefs. He had heart issues before and every indication was this was the same.)

This left a mark on me growing up. He passed away before I could really get to know him, and his advice would’ve been very helpful in this part of my life.

It showed me firsthand what heart health should mean for a person, it’s why I want Red Out to be as successful as possible.

Last year at this time I was in COMM 389 filling out my major, it was one of the lower points of my junior year, trying to put together an e-sports event that supported Area 5 Special Olympics. It was a disaster, and we lost more money than we were able to donate. 

This year, with the return of in-person events, we had the opportunity to return to the events that the Sports Communication knew. Heart health is one of the most important health fields to support, especially women’s heart health.

According to the CDC, Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. This, alongside the fact that approximately 57.5% of total stroke deaths are in women.

The event that the COMM 389/489 program puts on alongside Ferris athletics directly supports the Cardiopulmonary unit based here in Big Rapids. The last time the event ran, in February of 2020, the event raised $1,100. This year it hopes to raise more. 

This year, it is more than a one-day event, seeing events being held this past Monday for both basketball games, and for the two hockey games this Friday and Saturday.

Now, while we want to raise money for these classes, we also wanted to raise awareness for the issue. We also are running tables and posting social media pointing out some possible indications of heart issues.

This included the following: 

  • Cold sweats
  • Nausea
  • Light Headedness
  • Unusual Fatigue or the ability to sleep
  • Shortness of breath
  • Paleness or Clammy Skin

Any little bit of information on this topic helps. I don’t want to lose another family member to a heart issue. Alongside this, I don’t want to possibly see anyone lose a loved one to a heart issue that could potentially be prevented.

Just like every dollar helps with organizations and hospitals taking care of people who have these heart issues.

I wish that my grandpa could see me today. I hope he would be impressed with what I am doing, both with this paper and for the community.

For those interested in attending the hockey games and seeing what this event is all about, come to Wink Arena on Friday at 7:00 p.m. or on Saturday at 6:00 p.m.