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Laura Bush Opens Red Dress Exhibit

*Story Update*

Heart Disease is the leading cause of death for women.

Thursday night Brazos Valley residents gathered with some notable dignitaries to raise awareness about the problem.

News 3 spoke with a Bryan woman who has battled both a heart attack and breast cancer and found out what a new exhibit is doing to fight heart disease.

"I did not have any of the symptoms of the major risks for people to look at which is inactivity, high blood pressure, family history, overweight, over, obesity, you know, none of those factors were even a part of my life," said Reba Ragsdale of Bryan.

Reba Ragsdale has lived in Bryan for 33 years and suffered a heart attack on her way to a doctor's appointment six years ago. In 1994 she was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer.

"None of those factors were even a part of my life and so I was totally caught by surprise so I think it's so important for women to learn the risk factors and to listen to their bodies and to take action when something happens," Ragsdale said.

The 70-year-old is involved in numerous civic groups including the Bryan Rotary Club, St. Joseph Health System as well as her church and is now speaking up to raise awareness against heart disease.

Ragsdale was invited to the grand opening of the Heart Truth Red Dress Collection at the Bush Library, which featured former First Lady Laura Bush, President George H.W. Bush, and Barbara Bush.

The exhibit features red dresses from celebrities and first ladies.

'Like many women I'd assumed that heart disease was a man's problem but each year over 500,000 women will have a heart attack and one in four women in the United States will die of heart disease. Too many women have no idea that heart disease poses such a serious threat to their health," said Former First Lady Laura Bush.

Laura Bush addressed a packed-out house at the event and donated one of her red dresses for the collection.

"Advocating for the good health of women has been a focus for me for many years because I believe that life-long good health begins with awareness. By educating women who are too busy taking care of their jobs, taking care of their children, and taking care of everyone else, to take care of themselves," Laura Bush said.

"It means so, so much it's really heartwarming for me to be able to be there and see all those red dresses is just, it's gonna be pretty awesome and to hear Laura Bush who has been a long time supporter of heart disease because heart disease is the number one killer of women," Reba Ragsdale said.

The Red Dress Collection will be on display until August 14, 2011.

*Previous Story*
The George Bush Presidential Library is hosting some very important people for a very important cause Thursday night.

Former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush, along with Former First Lady Laura Bush will officially open the Heart Truth Red Dress Exhibit.

The collection is a special exhibit featuring red dresses worn by numerous celebrities and first ladies in an effort to raise awareness of heart related diseases.

Following the ribbon cutting ceremony at 5 p.m., Laura Bush will be speaking at a forum starting at 5:30 p.m.

Starting in 2003, Mrs. Bush served six years as the founding ambassador for The Heart Truth, an organization established by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute designed to bring awareness to women the risks of heart disease and promote positive health and wellness habits.

If you would like to watch the forum, we'll be streaming it live at KBTX.com.


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