Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Pleasure of Promoting Heart Health

I am so humbled by the opportunities I have been blessed with this year which have allowed me to amplify my voice in the fight against heart disease.  This month the article I wrote about my dad's journey to break his smoking habit and become heart healthy was published in "Memphis Health and Fitness Magazine."  I have been reading this wonderful publication for years, and I am honored to have the opportunity to spread the message that it is never too late to improve your heart health and save your life.  You can read the article by clicking on the link below.  Way to go Daddy!  I'm so proud of you.

Also, this week I was asked to become the American Heart Association's My Life Check Chairperson for the Greater Southeast Affiliate.  My Life is such a useful tool in the fight against heart disease and stroke, and I am excited to be able to reach audiences throughout the Southeastern United States, sharing my dad's story and encouraging people to take the My Life Check Assessment to determine the state of their heart health and what they can do to reduce their risk of heart disease.  I am honored to have been given this responsibility, and I am excited about my continued partership with the American Heart Association, its Go Red for Women Initiative, and My Life Check.  Please take a few minutes to visit My Life Check at the address provided below.           

Finally, due to the terrible flooding in the Mid South recently, the Memphis Area Go Red for Women Girls' Night Out, originally scheduled for May 10, 2011, has been rescheduled for June 6, 2011.  My Executive Leadership Team has raised over $230,000.00 for Go Red to date this year, and the event on June 6 is going to be incredible.  As Mrs. Tennessee International, I will have my own table at the event which I will be honored to share with my husband, mom, and eight friends.  I will also be a featured model in the Macy's Go Red Fashion Show which will take place during the event.  My team has worked hard, and we are looking quite forward to celebrating the exciting strides being made towards eradicating heart disease at our Go Red for Women Girls' Night Out on June 6!

I want to sincerely thank the Memphis Area Go Red for Women Chapter and the American Heart Association's Greater Southeast Affiliate for continuing to trust and believe in me and my passion to fight heart disease.  We have a wonderful partnership, and I look forward to working together for years to come. 

God Bless,
Mary-Marsha Riley
Mrs. Tennessee International 2011  

Positive Change Continues to Abound in Memphis

For three years now I have been deeply entrenched within Georgia Avenue Elementary which is the elementary school located in the 38126 zip code of Memphis.  This zip code is the third most impoverished zip code in the nation.  The average yearly family income in this area is less than $11,000.00 per year.  These children face challenges on a daily basis that most of us will never experience once in our lifetimes.  I have become extremely attached to these children, and I am passionate about the plight of Streets Ministries; to break the vicious cycle of poverty and let these children know that there are people that care about them and support their dreams.

President Obama's presence and speech at the Booker T. Washington High School Commencement on Monday in the 38126 zip code of Memphis was both exciting and uplifting for the city of Memphis and for the children of the 38126.  His presence shows these kids that there is another way; a better way, and that their dreams can become reality.  Thank you President Obama for believing in Memphis and for helping our at risk children realize that they can achieve success in this life.     

On May 12, 2011, my big hearted team gathered at Georgia Avenue Elementary for our fourth and final party of the year for some amazing third graders.  We had a pizza party, and the kids loved it!  My friend and team member Carly Knight, Promotions Manager for the Memphis Grizzlies, surprised the kids with Grizzlies bags filled with bobblehead dolls and replicas of the Grizzlies' home court.  The kids went wild, and why shouldn't they?  Our Grizzlies were only one game away from the NBA Western Conference Championship this year!  Go Grizz!

Devon and me; we have made a great team for the last three years.  I love this kid dearly, and I am extremely proud of the young man he has become.

On May 13, 2011, I returned to Georgia Avenue Elementary for the school's annual Field Day where I served as the resident face painter for the day!  Flowers, butterflies, rainbows, and dragons were among the most requested!  I had such a great time celebrating a great school year with these kids.  I am astonished and inspired by their strength and determination to overcome some seemingly insurmountable odds.

I am so proud of my city and our people.  Although we continue to face challenges, positive change abounds in Memphis, and that makes these very exciting times!    

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

American Heart Association Greater Southeast Affiliate Life Check Chair

Yesterday I was honored to be chosen to serve as the Chair of the American Heart Association's Greater Southeast Affiliate My Life Check. I am so excited to be so intimately involved with spreading the message of My Life Check and Life's Simple Seven throughout the Southeast. Please visit the website below to learn the state of your heart and the 7 easy steps you can take to lower your risk of heart disease.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Inspiration

My passion for fighting heart disease began a little more than two years ago when my dad, Bernie Porter, sufferered a heart attack. For years I had felt afraid and helpless because there was nothing I could do to get my dad to stop smoking. The heart attack did what my sister, my mom, and I could not ever achieve; it convinced my dad to stop smoking. Now, two years and two months later, my dad is smoke free and heart healthy. He has a new outlook on life, and I could not possibly be more thrilled or proud of him. His journey, and my memories of feeling helpless with regard to his health, inspired me to take up the fight against heart disease. As a spokesperson for Go Red for Women and in my career as a personal trainer, I am empowered to help people improve their health and their lives. I do this because of my dad; because of his strength and his determination to become heart healthy. He is my inspiration! Read about his journey in the article I wrote published in the May 2011 issue of "Memphis Health and Fitness Magazine." Way to go Daddy!!