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Jean Saveraid promotes ‘Go Red’ heart health for women

When Jean Saveraid took a challenge to improve her heart health in 2010, she didn’t realize it would change her life.

She signed up for the Story County American Heart Association’s Go Red BetterU Challenge and she hasn’t quit working to improve her heart health since. Now the redheaded retiree coordinates the program, and often wears red and sports scarves and pins advertising heart awareness.

“The BetterU program is focused on exercise, diet, physical assessment and influencing other women,” Saveraid said. “This isn’t just a 12-week program – it’s a lifestyle change.”

Saveraid’s an avid promoter to help women understand the importance of heart health.

“We have always focused on men’s heart health, but in fact, heart disease is the number one cause of death for women,” Saveraid said.

Jana Schade, corporate events director for the American Heart Association’s Midwest affiliate, said Saveraid is an inspirational leader.

“She’s a cheerleader, friend and a mentor, and that’s what she loves,” said Schade.

Saveraid signed up for the program in 2010 because of a history of heart disease in her family. She continued to exercise and monitor her diet after the program and says she now has more energy and stamina.

“I don’t love exercising, but I make myself work out and afterwards I feel really good,” Saveraid says.

This year, 13 women participated in the Story County BetterU Challenge, which started in late January. The participants received pre- and post-assessments from a cardiologist, access to a dietician and gym membership with a personal exercise prescription from a personal trainer. The program is sponsored by the Iowa Heart Center, Mary Greeley Medical Center and the Ames Racquet and Fitness Club.

Saveraid, who is from Huxley, also co-chairs the Story County Go Red for Women Luncheon, which will be held April 25 at the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center in Ames. Participants from the BetterU Challenge will be on hand to talk about their experiences.

The luncheon, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., includes a silent auction, lunch, speakers and vendor fair For registration and cost information, go to