Thursday, 09 January 2020 13:02

American Heart Association Launches Registration for Program

CAPITAL REGION — In June of 2018, Misty Jones was participating in the Capital Region Heart Walk when she collapsed and was taken away by ambulance. Shortly thereafter, she was diagnosed with Supraventricular Tachycardia, a condition she’s had all her life but never known about. The following January, she applied for and was accepted into the American Heart Association’s 2019 BetterU program.

On Monday, Jan. 6., Jones, who lives in Clifton Park and is a physical therapist at Albany Memorial Hospital, shared her story as the American Heart Association launched its search for the 2020 BetterU class. The BetterU is a 12-week heart-health improvement program that is part of the Go Red for Women movement. Twelve women will be accepted into the program through an application and interview process.

BetterU participants will receive nutritional education from Price Chopper/Market 32 and individual counseling from The Sage Colleges nutrition program. The Capital District YMCA will provide personal trainers and 12-week memberships to the participants, and CAP COM, presenting sponsor of the BetterU, will provide a financial wellness workshop. The women will meet weekly for group workouts and support at the SEFCU gym.

“I had always known that something wasn’t quite right,” Jones said, “but nobody could ever find anything. I urge everyone to be their own best advocate and take care of themselves.”

Jones applied for the BetterU at the urging of her friend, BetterU alumna and co-chair of the 2019 Capital Region Go Red for Women Luncheon, Kathleen Pingelski, president of MicroKnowledge and ProKnowledge.

“The BetterU really helped me see the importance of a support system and let me redouble my commitment to eating well and exercising,” Jones said.

In 2019, Jones didn’t just return to the Heart Walk, she ran the 5K with BetterU friends.

“The American Heart Association’s impact and mission is very important to all of us at CAP COM,” said CAP COM Chief Relationship Officer, Susan Rosko Fogarty. “We are excited to continue our partnership with AHA and help launch the 2020 BetterU program. BetterU offers the tools for Capital Region women to develop healthy lifestyle changes, and make friendships and gain confidence along the way.”

Maria Decker of Maria’s Catering is a member of the Capital Region Board of Directors of the American Heart Association and the leader of the BetterU of the Go Red for Women movement.

“We are all in such a hurry and don’t bother to talk with each other,” Decker said. “The BetterU creates a place where these women can come together, work out, learn good eating habits, share successes and challenges, and come out healthier. We need to take care of our hearts every day, not just because it’s January. I’m excited to meet this year’s group. I’m also excited that Jennifer Snyder Wright and Kathleen Pingelski are leading the BetterU alumnae group so that the 12-week program becomes a lifetime program.”

“Food plays a fundamental role in heart health, and I am excited to help the participants explore and start a heart-healthy lifestyle,” said Ellie Wilson, Senior Nutritionist for Price Chopper/Market 32. “It’s been a privilege to be part of the BetterU and to increase women’s knowledge of heart disease – and how to prevent it. Having the Sage students work with the women is also a great addition to the program.”

Sara Rindenello, communications manager at Albany Med, and Victoria Baecker, director of community relations and corporate events at CDPHP, are co-chairing the 2020 Go Red for Women Luncheon, where the BetterU class will be showcased.

“CDPHP is thrilled to once again to be the gold sponsor the American Heart Association’s BetterU program, which has helped countless women achieve the important goal of living their healthiest lives,” Baecker said. “I look forward to hearing all about the success of this year’s class and commend the American Heart Association for putting together a program that makes women’s heart health a top priority.”

“The BetterU program is the heart of the Go Red for Women Luncheon,” Rindenello said. “It embodies everything that the Go Red for a Women movement aims to accomplish. This program gives a life-changing opportunity to women and enables them to take charge of their health by providing significant help, resources and support to achieve significant health and fitness-related improvements. Albany Med is proud to be a part of it.”

The BetterU application is available at or by calling 518.626.8750. The application deadline is January 16, 2020.

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