Wednesday afternoon, Mississippi First Lady Elee Reeves announced that the Governor’s Mansion will once again be lit red for the last few days of February in honor of National Heart Month.

Heart Month brings awareness to heart disease patients and their families. Nine years after President Lyndon B. Johnson had his heart attack, he set the first proclamation of this month in 1964, and it has been a tradition for every other President since then.

First Lady Reeves started the press conference off by welcoming those in attendance including the American Heart Association, the Go Red for Women Passion Committee, Circle of Red and many heart disease survivors.

“We are gathered today to turn the Governor’s Mansion red for a very specific reason – To help save lives,” said the First Lady.

She acknowledged the fact that heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the state of Mississippi, as well as the entire nation.

“… Heart Disease and strokes take the life of a woman every eighty seconds. Lighting the Governor’s Mansion red this week may seem small, but it will make a big impact – We are all helping raise awareness of heart disease and the risk to women so that we can all help take action,” said the First Lady.

She urged the state to rally behind the research of the American Heart Association and Go Red. She then introduced Doctor Richard Summers to the podium.

Dr. Summers serves as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC). He stated that since Mississippi leads the nation in cardiovascular disease, it is something the university cares deeply about.

“Women are often the last ones in the family to seek that kind of care. They’re the ones that sacrifice before everyone else, and we want to change that. We want to show that appreciation of what women do for us by highlighting their health,” said Summers.

Johnny Donaldson, the President of BankPlus – Jackson,  spoke on BankPlus’ partnership with the American Heart Association and why this month is special to him and the rest of BankPlus.

“BankPlus has partnered with the American Heart Association for over twenty years now, and we are honored to have sponsored the lighting of the Governor’s Mansion for the past four year,” said Donaldson.

He then told the crowd that his mother was a heart patient. He said he has first-hand seen the benefits from Go Red for Women, of the awareness that they can offer patients.

After the press conference, Y’all Politics spoke to Dr. Summers. We asked him what the plan was regarding cardiovascular health research.

“Right now, we’ve got to ramp up the clinical trials,” Summers said, “And we need to make sure we’re being inclusive of disparity groups like minorities and women to see what exactly is going on,” said Summers.

First Lady Reeves left the crowd with this,

“Mississippi – and our nation – This is our number one killer for women, and shining a light on this can hopefully help save future lives. We’re lighting the Mansion red today I think it’s for a week. I’ve been a part of Go Red for a while now,” said the First Lady.

This year marks the 56th anniversary of National Heart Month.

Stone Clanton, Y’all Politics Reporter