Many people think of heart disease as a man’s problem, however, women can and do get heart disease. In fact, heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. It is also a leading cause of disability among women.
This is the message that members of the RED Racing Cycling team would like all women to hear. The team is, as their team website promotes, “a group of female cyclists committed to developing competitive racers while building awareness and supporting the American Heart Association.” Their mission is to raise awareness that heart disease is the number one killer of women.
“This was a personal crusade,” stated co-founder Michelle Melka. “My dad had a heart attack when I was a freshman in high school. Then had another heart attack in 2006, which he unfortunately did not survive. We tried to make changes in my family to live a heart healthy life. We tried to eat better and exercise. My parents went back to not eating healthy and not making healthy choices and that is when my dad had his second heart attack. I am a big believer in eating right. I want to spread the message for women to become fit and that they can use their bikes.”
Janelle Kellman, Melka’s RED Racing team mate and fellow co-founder, put the word out to her Dolce Vita squad. Dolce Vita is a Northern California based racing program focusing on developing CAT3/4 riders. Kellman stated, “We really enjoyed the development angle but after focusing on development, and spending all of our time racing our bikes, it was time for a slightly different perspective on life. We started to think about helping the community and giving back. We thought it would be amazing to work with the American Heart Association and put the buzz out to the women on Dolce Vita. We got a really good response.”