Seniors learn CPR on 2017 Go Red Sunday

Seniors learn CPR training at 2017 Go Red Sunday. (photo by Deborah A. Culp)

Seniors learn CPR training at 2017 Go Red Sunday. (photo by Deborah A. Culp)

This year’s annual American Heart Association (AHA) Go Red campaign brought much joy and education to many Nashville seniors. Dr. Katherine Y. Brown, of ‘Learn CPR America’ effectively shared a tailored CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation) training workshop with the Second Missionary Baptist Church seniors. Everyone was invited to wear the color red and what a sea of festivity and color this added to the event. The bulk of the congregants were seniors aged 55 to 90, but other age groups joined in as well.

This was the same for the knowledge levels of each participant. Some took to Dr. Brown’s instruction and hands-on demonstrations as if it were second nature to them. Others waited patiently for instruction to move ahead, wearing a mixture of happiness and confusion on their eager faces.

Hypertension (high blood pressure), brain aneurysms, strokes and heart disease have often been tasked as ‘killer cousin diseases’ and each category has inflicted more than its fair share on the African American population.

February has been chosen as the #GoRed month by the AHA nationwide. Red is a festive, power color and indeed an attention getter, but education is the bottom line.

“On Sunday, February 5, The Second Missionary Baptist in partnership with it’s cooperate ministry, SMB Cooperative Ministries collaborated with Dr. Katherine Brown in an initiative of the AHA #GodRed Sunday,” said Bishop Calvin C. Barlow, Jr. “Our church was the first church in our area 37204 zip code to participate in Nashville, Tennessee. Furthermore, we might have had the oldest person to participate in CPR training. Mother Clara Campbell (age 90) is a member of Second Missionary Baptist demonstrated that she is ready to save lives. The take-aways from this learning moment were: heart attacks don’t have to be fatal, and knowing what to do increase the odds of survival.”

As president/CEO of Learn CPR America, Dr. Brown is not just changing lives—she is helping to save them all over the country. One way is to bring life-saving CPR education to underserved communities. Additionally, she is founder of the Roberta Baines Wheeler Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Group. Named after her mother, the organization is the only organization of its kind in the state of Tennessee.

Although Dr. Brown is a member of Lee Chapel AME Church, she has traveled nationwide teaching CPR and helping pastors and churches of all denominations bring new life and energy to their health ministries.

“Cardiac Arrest doesn’t discriminate when it comes to age, race, or church affiliation,” said Dr. Brown. “I appreciate Rev. Barlow, Lanese Campbell and SMBC First Lady Rutha Barlow for being receptive to this program and having a Go Red Sunday. Over 60 people were trained in CPR and each left with a free CPR anytime kit to share the information with others. I love sharing the resources of the American Heart Association with the community. The highlight of my day was personally training a member who learned CPR for the first time at age 90. It goes to show that you are never too young or old to help save a life.”

Dr. Brown has been an AHA volunteer since age 16 under the guidance of her mother who was a nurse. She is known for offering free CPR in the community.

Soon the month of February and the AHA 2017 #GoRed campaign will be long gone. Hopefully the highlights and purpose will last much longer. Choices such as selecting baked chicken over fried, taking the stairs as opposed to waiting for the elevator, will become the norm as opposed to a trend. Resources and information are available throughout the year. Whereas African American numerical stats run high, there is tangible proof that no one is exempt and the aforementioned diseases’ consequences leap off with little or no warning.

For more information, visit www.heart.org.