Image: Jane Seymour
Giacinta Pace
Jane Seymour graces the red carpet at the Seventh Annual Woman’s Day Red Dress Awards Gala in New York City on Feb. 10.
NBC News
updated 6/10/2010 11:35:26 AM ET 2010-06-10T15:35:26

Cause Celeb highlights a celebrity’s work on behalf of a specific cause. This week, we speak with fashion guru Tim Gunn, actress Jane Seymour, and Woman’s Day executives Carlos Lamadrid and Elizabeth Mayhew about the Woman’s Day Red Dress Awards. Each year during American Heart Month, Woman’s Day magazine honors women who have made significant contributions to fight heart disease, the number-one killer of women. This year, Woman’s Day honored four women whom they featured in the March issue of their magazine. The awards gala was held at the Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York on Feb. 10 and featured performances by Mary J. Blige and Anthony Hamilton, with special appearances by Tim Gunn and Larry King.  Proceeds went to the Larry King Cardiac Foundation, which was established by King in 1988 to provide funding for life-saving heart procedures to people with limited means and no insurance.

Q: What is your involvement with heart health and what are you personally doing to help?

Gunn: Being part of AdDress Your Heart campaign is one, but it’s an issue that touches me personally, because my mother has heart disease. She’s been battling it for many years, battling it, so far, successfully. But, she’s elderly, so it gets harder. You know, I’m the fashion guy, but I happen to know that unless you’re healthy inside, doesn’t matter how great your fashion is. So, I’m all about promoting good health and wellness, healthy lifestyle, healthy eating of course.

I’m thrilled and honored to be here tonight, with these incredible women. There are so many inspiring people around us, who have a tenacity, and a drive, and a determination to fight this disease.

Q: Can you tell us about a moving experience you had while working with a heart charity?

Seymour: I played a woman who had a heart transplant in a movie called "Heart of the Stranger," and the lady I was playing, I met and I got to know her really well. I’ve watched open-heart surgeries, and I’ve had to deal with heart disease myself. When I had my twins, I almost died, and my blood pressure just went completely crazy — through the roof.

It was definitely a silent killer, I could have died from it, easily, if my doctor hadn’t been monitoring me very, very closely. That’s why I know firsthand it is a silent killer. You do not know you have heart disease when you have it.

Q: What is the one word of advice you would give to women about heart health?

Seymour: I would say definitely get good checkups, lose weight, eat properly, less sodium, and make sure you do at least a couple of hours of aerobic exercise every week if you can. Get off the couch!

Q: Why is it important for Woman’s Day to raise heart-health awareness and what is the most important thing people should know?

Mayhew: Women are the CEOs of the house — they need to be healthy first and foremost. With heart disease as the number one killer, they need to know that, take care of themselves, get routine checkups, that’s the way to find it. It’s preventative, you just need to go to your doctor, have your blood pressure checked, have your cholesterol checked. You got to be ahead of it, so it doesn’t built up for later in life.

Lamadrid: It’s really important to remember that a lot of heart disease, which is the number one killer in America, is preventative. With healthy living, you can really prevent complications.

One of the things that we do, every issue (of Women's Day) magazine, we do recipes that are heart-healthy. We put a little logo there so you know it’s heart-healthy. We give exercise routines and tips on living better. It’s part of the fabric, DNA, of the brand. It’s on the website, on the magazine, and this is just one more way to bring it to light, having an event. It’s a great way to create awareness.

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