The University of California, Davis, studies the heart, treats the heart and promotes heart health in a big, big way, to be demonstrated Friday, Feb. 7, when thousands of students, staff and faculty will try to set a new world record for largest heart formation.
This show of force against heart disease — the No. 1 killer in the United States — will be happening on the first UC Davis Wears Red Day, coinciding with National Wear Red Day, sponsored annually by the Heart Truth Campaign and the American Heart Association to raise awareness of heart disease as the leading cause of death among women.
“To show just how dedicated we are to this important cause, we have set our sights incredibly high,” UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi said of the university’s attempt to break the Guinness World Record of 11,166 people in a heart formation, set in February 2010 in the state of Nuevo León, Mexico.
UC Davis is going for 12,000 people covering about an acre on the Davis campus. Everyone in the community, on or off campus, is invited to join in.
Participants are asked to wear red; many students, staff and faculty are expected to put aside their regular Aggie Pride Friday shirts (in blue) in favor of special red shirts with the outline of a heart on the front. They’re on sale at all UC Davis Stores and online; $1 from every shirt sale goes to the UC Davis Women’s Cardiovascular Medicine Program for its education and outreach efforts.
“On UC Davis Wears Red Day, we are making a statement about taking good care of our hearts — by adopting healthy lifestyles and starting prevention early,” said cardiologist Amparo Villablanca, director of the Women’s Cardiovascular Medicine Program, which, when it began 20 years ago, was the nation’s first program dedicated to women’s heart health.
Villablanca and Adele Zhang, a lecturer in the UC Davis Department of Design, have been addressing heart health awareness in their own unique way every February for the last five years — with beautiful red dresses. Zhang and her students design and make them, and Villablanca presents them at her annual Women’s Heart Care Education and Awareness Forum for Community Leaders.
This year, Chancellor Katehi is collaborating with Villablanca and Zhang to expand the “wear red” campaign throughout the university community, to remind everyone of the importance of heart-disease prevention.
The most red will emanate from the Hutchison Intramural Field, where organizers will cordon off an area for the heart formation and count people as they enter to be part of the record-breaking attempt. Participants are asked to start gathering at 11:30 a.m.; official photographs will be taken at about 12:30 p.m.
Then comes the Battle Heart Disease Fair, free and open to the public, from 1 to 4 p.m. in The Pavilion, next door to the IM field. UC Davis’ Alpha Pi Sigma sorority is organizing the fair, to include information tables and health screenings.
For more information, call UC Davis Ceremonies and Special Events, (530) 754-2262.