MURRAY — Thrombus, pulmonary valve, endocarditis: Mention these scientific terms, and many of the more right-brained people will check out of the conversation.
But give them a giant heart to walk through with the thrombus, pulmonary valve and endocarditis labeled, and they'll most likely be far more receptive when it comes to learning about one of our most vital organs.
Community members of all ages crowded Intermountain Medical Center's Heart and Lung Center as they learned about the heart in stations and workshops during the center's annual Heart Fair on Saturday.
Valentina Begay brought her young grandson Dominique along. They visited the event last year but didn't arrive until the end, Begay said.
"It was amazing, and so this year I wanted to make sure I was a part of it."
When asked if he had fun, Dominique nodded enthusiastically.
"He needs to know the meaning of what the heart does and the function of it, and so that's why I brought him here," Begay added.
Kids could play in a "Kids Zone" with karaoke, a life-size Operation game and other activities as parents watched healthy cooking demonstrations, CPR tutorials and had their cholesterol screened for just $8, among many other activities, during the state's largest heart fair.
A long line of people waited to receive their free health risk assessments.
For Libby Lavadie, the event helped her gain peace of mind as she was given a good bill of heart health in her assessment.
"It's really useful information. I was interested in getting some healthy food (ideas). I've been wanting to lose weight, and I also have really low iron. I'm trying to find a magic trick," she said.
"Also, I was interested in the CPR demonstration," Lavadie said, adding that if someone needs her help, she wants to be prepared.
Another useful station educated people about apps designed to help them keep up with their heart health.
Even some hospital employees attended the event to learn more about improving their lifestyles. Charly Wood, who works at Intermountain, said she "came for the recipes and more ideas on how to continue the heart-healthy lifestyle."
"It's a great way to spend a Saturday," Craig Schmidt said, adding that he attends the event every year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, with 1 in 4 deaths caused by the disease.
Saturday's event is just one of many that will take place during February, which is American Heart Month, as Utah and other states around the country "Go Red," illuminating monuments, and businesses and organizations will hold fundraisers.
Here are some of them:
- Through Monday: Macy's is offering a 25 percent discount to customers who purchase a red dress pin for $3 to benefit the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women campaign in Utah.
- All months: Brighton Bank is selling red paper hearts for $1 that will benefit the Go Red for Women campaign. Employees and guests at five companies in Utah are also wearing red and/or hosting Wear Red Day/Heart Month activities or special offers. Companies involved include Rocky Mountain Power, University of Utah Health, Steward Health, Brighton Bank, Blue Lemon, Intermountain Medical Center and Dignity Memorial.
- Thursday: The Go Red Por Tu Corazón Luncheon, an educational program that encourages women to become "champions of heart health," will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m in the Utah Cultural Celebration Center, 1355 W. 3100 South, West Valley City, UT 84119.
- Friday: During the "Heart on the Hill" event at the Capitol Centennial Room from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., legislators, Capitol employees and volunteers will receive a heart-healthy lunch and blood pressure screenings provided by Steward Health. Volunteers will be able to speak with legislators in the Capitol rotunda about issues related to heart health.
- Feb. 12: All Utah Blue Lemon restaurants will donate 15 percent of their sales between 5 and 9 p.m. to the American Heart Association.
- March 9: Utah's Go Red for Women will host a luncheon from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Marriott Downtown at City Creek, 75 S. West Temple.
For more information, visit GoRedforWomen.org.