BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — For 18 years, Go Red for Women has encouraged awareness. Challenging women to know their risk for heart disease and to take action to reduce their personal risk.

The American Heart Association’s women’s initiative, Go Red for Women, has been around for over a decade. This Women’s History Month, the organization highlights the fight against the leading cause of death for women, which is heart disease.

One survivor, Tara Winder overcame open heart surgery. She said she’s excited to see others wanting to keep their health a priority.

“We as women are more invested in our own health and staying aware. I’m glad I listened to my body. I don’t know if I’d be here today if I didn’t,” Winder said.

Meanwhile, Go Red for Women chairperson, Jamie Burgess said the luncheon delivers an important message to take precautions when it comes to your health.

“One message we’re trying to deliver is that cardiovascular disease is largely preventable. We can sometimes make minor life changes to prevent cardiovascular disease. We can make healthier eating choices, move more, and sit less. It can really make a huge impact on your personal health,” Burgess said.

A Go Red for Women speaker said she had three strokes within less than 8 days, but with the support of her family and rehab, she’s managed to overcome her situation.

“I think advocacy and awareness is so much the key to saving lives in these situations,” Kayla Saccm, stroke survivor said.