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Storm Going Red All Season Long

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Kevin Pelton, stormbasketball.com | June 10, 2010


The Seattle Storm announced Thursday an expanded partnership with the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women program that will last throughout the 2010 season and be highlighted by the July 25 Go Red Night. The "Go Red with the Seattle Storm" campaign has been in the works since last winter.

"After the conclusion of last year, we had talked about how we felt like there was so much more potential around Go Red," said Storm CEO Karen Bryant. "Given the profile of our audience and how our organization has played a part in talking about overall wellness with our Jr. Storm Program and kids, Go Red represented an opportunity for us to really engage with the mothers and older women in our audience to really talk about how easy it is to make changes to have a healthier heart.


"I really want to make changes in my life to be healthier. If I can inspire others to join me and do the same, then that's even better."
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"We sat down at a table with the folks from Go Red last fall and before you know it, we had put together a much more comprehensive partnership. It involved the Storm having a presence at both of their Go Red luncheons (in Seattle and in Bellevue) in the month of May. It will culminate in our annual Go Red Night this year on July 25.

"What we're doing today is launching a Go Red with the Storm campaign in which I'm going to be the lead cheerleader and encourage our fans to join me in making simple changes in their lives to lead to a healthier heart."

Bryant's role stepping front and center should help personalize the message for Storm fans, but she is also happy to have the pressure of going public with her own efforts to make heart-healthy choices in her life. Bryant will blog about the experience on StormTracker throughout the season.

"I'm really excited about it," she said. "I really want to make changes in my life to be healthier. Leading a busy and demanding life and now being the mother of a two-year-old daughter, it's really important that I do things in my life to ensure I'm as healthy as I can be for so many reasons. From a selfish perspective, I know that by going public with this and asking our fans for their support and participation, I know I will be more successful. I'm really looking forward to that. If I can inspire others to join me and do the same, then that's even better."

Virginia Mason Medical Center, a long-time Storm partner, will also play a role in the Go Red campaign by providing information about how to improve heart health from its team of experts. To kick off her personal involvement, Bryant underwent a wellness analysis to gauge her current health.

"I met with an internal medicine doc, Dr. Nkeiruka Duze; I met with a cardiologist, Dr. Sara Weiss; and I met with a nutrionist, Kathleen Humbert, all at Virginia Mason," said Bryant. "Through those meetings and those conversations I came away much more knowledgeable about my own personal health assessment and what I need to do to improve that, and more importantly inspired. They are three great women who are thrilled to be a part of this campaign. As we go through this campaign, I am excited to have their continued support and expertise to help guide me."

Their message to Bryant, which she will be repeating to fans, is that improving heart health isn't necessarily about making dramatic changes so much as simpler ones.

"Often they see people who are so overwhelmed by their ultimate goals and objectives or the state of their current health that it's easy to get discouraged," Bryant said. "They talked consistently about baby steps. If you take small steps toward a healthy heart, it will be easier and you will start to see changes. I did this whole analysis of all my numbers--my cholesterol, mass-body index, my body fat, various measurements--and we'll do another test in 3-4 months and see how much progress I've made."

From a broader perspective, the Storm is an ideal fit for the Go Red program because of the organization's combination of a focus on fitness and a fanbase that is predominantly made up of women.

"The first objective of the campaign is to increase awareness of the fact that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women," explained Bryant. "There are a lot of things genetically that are out of our control as it relates to our own heart health, but a lot of things in our control and things that we can do to mitigate risk factors. It's important to educate our fans about heart health and the risks associated with heart disease. It's also about promoting some of the resources that are out there. Goredforwomen.org is a tremendous website that has tons of information and is really helpful in terms of building awareness and opening the thought process around how easy it is to make changes."

Now, instead of delivering that message at a single game, the Storm will be repeating it throughout the season and potentially beyond.

"We've talked already about how this is something we may very well carry on for a long, long time," Bryant said. "Making a decision to make changes in your life is a lifelong decision, not a one-night thing or a six-week campaign. We hope that this is the start of something that is around for a long, long time and that as it grows more people have a degree of knowledge they didn't have before and more importantly are motivated to make small changes themselves. It's a great evolution of what started out as a single promotion a few years ago and hopefully now has become something much bigger for the organizations that are involved and more meaningful for our fans."