The American Heart Association is inviting Kern County residents to wear red along with millions of other Americans on Feb. 1, for the sake of women's health.

The purpose of the annual Go Red for Women campaign is to empower women to take charge of their heart health, as well as to work together to wipe out heart disease, the No. 1 killer of women that is more deadly than all forms of cancer, according to the association.

In Bakersfield, the association's Kern County Chapter is inviting the public to post pictures on the chapter's Facebook page of residents "painting the town red."

"It's great for women to take care of their health, and have fun while meeting other people and find out about the risk," said Belinda Gordillo, a communications and marketing director at American Heart Association. "Bakersfield is on the top list of highest heart disease. It is important for local women to become informed."

Joining forces with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the association created the National Wear Red Day in 2003 to raise awareness. Heart disease causes one in three women's deaths each year, killing about one woman every minute. An estimated 43 million women in the United States are affected by it.

This year, Go Red For Women will feature a luncheon and fashion show on Feb. 7, at the Bakersfield Marriott at the Convention Center, with local women serving as models. It will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets are $150 and can be purchased online until Feb. 6.

"A lot of women who attend are normally leaders in the community who will take the initiative to pass down the information they have learned to their friends," Gordillo said.

The event will raise money for research, and programs for heart disease and stroke. To reserve your tickets for the luncheon, go to If you wish to volunteer, contact Julie Lebel at

-- Matilde Ruiz