Red Dress dinner and seminar draws record crowd

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Valda Boyd Ford, center, singing “Proud Mary” ala Tina Turner with Renee Myles, right, and Tamicka Bradley of UNMC Community Partnerships, left, singing backup during last month’s Heart and Soul Red Dress Dinner and Seminar. Photo by Herb Thompson.

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The models from the evening’s fashion show were, front row from left, Karen Turley, Noella Akah, Beverly Prince-Muhammed, Masmi Chavez, Sachiko Keele and Meral Canbakis; back row from left are Sherry Snead, Terri Kalilnowski, Brenda Bell and Faten Fawzy.

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The GBT Academy of the Arts Dance Group performed during the Red Dress event.

More than 600 women attended the Second Annual Heart and Soul Red Dress Dinner and Seminar under the Mutual of Omaha Dome last month.

The event is held annually to educate women about their No. 1 killer — heart disease.

A three-course dinner, a fashion show, a spot-on Tina Turner impersonation, door prizes and gift bags and sobering presentations by Doris Moore and Valda Boyd Ford were among the activities of the evening. There also was a special performance by the GBT Academy of Arts dance troupe, featuring UNMC College of Nursing graduate Dorthea Klute.

Doris Moore, president and CEO of Center for Holistic Development, Inc., wanted the women to understand the wide array of issues that constitute mental health

“Mental illness is a biological/brain-related matter that usually requires medication and other interventions,” Moore said. “Mental health is more about the environmental factors, home life, relationships, jobs, parenting and children, and the interconnections that drive our daily existence. I want women to understand how many factors are working against their mental health, and the many ways women can reduce stress because too much stress can break a woman down as fast as anything else out here.”

Boyd Ford — founder and CEO of the Center for Human Diversity — encouraged the women present to take better care of themselves by delivering a healthy dose of good medical advice with dollops of laughter.

One of the highlights of the four-hour evening was an international fashion show. The models were well received, especially Terri Kalinowski, coordinator of The Nebraska Medical Center thrift store. Her hand-sewn regalia and tribal dancing drew loud lu-lus (American Indian singing) from audience members representing Ponca, Omaha, Rosebud and Santee tribes.

The night ended with Boyd Ford in red fringed dress, wearing a blond Tina Turner wig, singing her version of “Proud Mary” with UNMC’s Tamicka Bradley as one of her back-up singers.