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Stayin’ Alive — and dancing the night away

Sweetheart Gala raises money to fight heart disease

February 19, 2012
By JOE SUTTER, Messenger staff writer , Messenger News

Stayin' Alive. This year's Sweetheart Gala couldn't have a more appropriate title.

It has a disco and '70's theme, and it raises money to help fight the No. 1 killer of women ages 20 and over in America.

"In the time it takes to eat a Tootsie Pop, someone in our country will die of heart disease," said Holly Narber, a member of the Sweetheart Ball volunteer committee.

Article Photos

-Messenger file photo
Brenda Lastine, of Fort Dodge, and Randy Quastad, of Estherville, get into the spirit of the 1970s at the 2011 Webster County Sweetheart Gala at the Fort Dodge Country Club. Benefits from the fundraiser support the Webster County division of the American Heart Association. This year’s event will be March 3.

The 15th annual gala will be held at the Fort Dodge Country Club on March 3, and will feature a live auction, dinner, and dancing to a DJ.

"It's a special evening," Narber said.

As in the past, Deb and Casey Johnson are chairs of the ball, Narber said. Casey Johnson also emcee's the night's entertainment.

Fact Box

If you go:

What: Stayin' Alive: 15th Annual Sweetheart Gala

When: March 3. Social hour 6 p.m.; auction 6:30, dinner and dancing to follow

Where: Fort Dodge Country Club

Tickets: $85 per couple. Order tickets by calling Fort Dodge Ford, 576-7505. RSVP by Friday

Music: Dean Vinchattle, In-Your-Ear mobile sound

This is the second year the ball has had a disco theme, and if the past is any indication, people enjoy the chance to dress up in '70s attire.

"There are some lights, you see the occasional flare pants in the mix, and I've seen go-go boots come in too," Narber said.

The proceeds go to the Webster County division of the American Heart Association, which uses the funds for heart research, "all in an effort to save lives," she said.

Cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, heart attack, and high blood pressure are the No. 1 killer of both men and women, Narber said, claiming more lives than the next four top diseases.

"Nearly 2,400 people die each day- one in every three deaths," she said.

Narber has volunteered with the Webster County Heart Association for the past seven years.

"I think it's a very important cause," she said. "I like to be a part of the community, and blossom where I'm planted."

The event is usually attended by more than 200 people. Since it began in 1996, it has brought in more than $550,000 for heart research and education.

Narber said the Healthy Weight for Life program would be honored at this year's ball.

That program is headed by Teresa Newman, manager of the Healthy Living Department and Diabetes Center at Trinity Regional Medical Center.

Newman said the ball would feature the five people who have gone through this year's program, which began last October and will be completed in March.

"Together, those five have lost 100 pounds this year," she said. "Two of them were in this program last year - and they kept off the weight they lost from that first program for over a year."

She is pleased with this, she said, because the Healthy Weight for Life program is about long-term life changes, not quick weight-loss diets.

Newman said the Sweetheart Ball does a good job of promoting healthy living.

"That's what I appreciate about the Sweetheart Ball committee, they are trying to emphasize the power of prevention, the power each of us has in controlling our own health," she said.

"Seventy percent of how our health is going to play out in our lifetime is due to the choices we make every single day - what we choose to eat, how active we choose to be, how well we choose to deal with stress. Only 30 percent of how our health plays out is due to genetics. Some of us have a genetic predisposition for certain diseases, but it's the choices we make every day that pull the trigger.

"Being overweight is a big risk factor for heart disease. If we can get our weight into a recommended healthy range, we significantly decrease our chances for developing heart disease, stroke, type-II diabetes, or certain types of cancer," she said.

She said that in the Healthy Weight classes, they emphasize three habits which everyone should follow.

"It sounds simple, but our society doesn't make it easy for us," she added. "But people are worth it, and our health is worth it."

Contact Joe Sutter at (515) 573-2141 or



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