Kim Strong was 41 and seemed like the picture of health. She had a muscular and athletic build, low blood pressure, low cholesterol and a healthy diet. In her first four decades of life, she'd never had any serious medical issues.
Then, one day last year, she had a heart attack.
It probably saved her life.
"I knew that I was having a heart attack because I had attended the luncheon ... and read [about] the symptoms," she says. "I had all of the symptoms -- back pain, chest pain, arm numb, hand tingly, jaw pain and headache."
That's one purpose of the yearly luncheon, the 2013 version of which will be held this Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Waldorf Astoria at Bonnet Creek. Part of the nationwide Go Red for Women campaign, health experts will educate women about their No. 1 killer -- heart disease -- and tell them how they can reduce their risk.
But the luncheon also serves as a major fund-raising event for the nonprofit heart association, which uses the money for research and further awareness efforts.
At $150 per ticket, it's not inexpensive. But for Strong, it's arguably the best investment she ever made.
"Today, I am healthier than I have ever been in my life," she says. "I exercise every day, without fail, for at least one hour. I feel great and take great care of myself."
That's another lesson she has learned.
"I want to tell women: Take care of yourself," she says. "You can’t take care of your children and your husband if you don’t take care of yourself first."
For more information or to buy tickets, go to www.heart.org/orlandogored.