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Help turn Marion RED!
by Nancy Grindle Correspondent · February 8th, 2018

February is Heart Month and a number of local entities are working to help residents turn Marion RED during this time.

Here is why: Heart disease is the number-one killer in Linn County!

Over the weekend we spoke with Heather Rittgers and her mother, Barbara Maring, who contacted area businesses and other groups to ask for their help in making people more aware of this largely preventable disease.

Heather herself came close to death when she was a cheerleader and student at Linn-Mar. Now she advocates on the American Heart Association's Passion and Community Awareness Committee, along with her mom and Susan Ovel.

Here is how these local businesses are showing their support this month:

Aurora Coffee - Aurora will give you 10 percent off its white chocolate cherry mocha.

Lillians of Marion - Lillians will give you 10 percent off the purchase of any red item.

Ramsey's Wine Bistro - You will receive $1 off every bottle of Folonari wine that you purchase.

Mr. Bean's - Mr. Bean's will give you 10 percent off every Club Med sandwich you purchase.

Di Moda Boutique - You will receive 20 percent off anything you buy on President's Day, and appetizers will be served from 4 to 7 p.m.

Other businesses which are providing awareness are the Collins Wellness Center, Kepros Physical Therapy and Performance, the Midwest Athletic Club and Wit's End.

Heather provided a list of the signs of a heart attack. Call 9-1-1 if you have any of these symptoms! Take an ambulance; do not drive in a car!

Chest discomfort

Discomfort in other areas of the upper body - one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach

Shortness of breath

Other signs - cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness

As Heather noted, this is a largely preventable disease. There are seven steps which we can take to reduce our chances:

Stop smoking.

Maintain a healthy body weight.

Be physically active (150 minutes of moderate intensity per week).

Eat a healthy diet (lots of fruits, veggies and less than 1500 mg sodium per day).

Keep total cholesterol under 200mg/dl (choosing foods low in fat and cholesterol).

Check blood pressure regularly (should be below 120/80).

Have a blood sugar level of less than 100mg/dl.

Heather maintains a website called and also can be followed on Facebook at She is trained as a CNWC and CPT.

Please step up and help turn Marion RED! Dig out your red clothes and wear them proudly as you strive to be heart healthy!
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