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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Community members gathered on the steps of city hallfor a press conference held in honor of "Wear Red Day", the American Heart Association's initiative toraise awarenessof heart disease in women. Among the speakers were Mayor Michael Brennan, City Councillor Jill Duson, heart disease survivor Mindy Beyer and representatives from Maine Health and Harvard Pilgrim health care.

PHOTO GALLERY: National Go Red Day

Mayor Brennan spoke of the seriousness of heart disease, which is the leading killer of women in America. He urged Maine women to take control of their health care, and to use the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women campaign as a tool.

"Since the Go Red campaign began ten years ago, more than 627,000 lives have been saved," he said.

Mindy Beyer, a heart disease survivor, spoke of her experiences living with heart disease. She said that the support and knowledge of the American Heart Association helped her with her life long health struggles.

"It's because of the research, the education and the advocacy... from the heart association, that I can stand here in front of you today," she said.

Beginning tonight, Portland city hall will be illuminated in red for the month of February in honor of American Heart month.

The American Heart Association is holding a luncheon on March 12 at the Holiday Inn by the Bay for those interested in learning more about Go Red for Women.

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