Go Red for Rachel

LEXINGTON -- Rachel Jones was many things to those that knew her. She was a nurse, a student, a friend, a daughter, a sister and, above all, a traveler.

Jones' love for travel inspired her to run a blog, Hippie in Heels, from her home in Goa, India. Jones found many things on the road including her “accidental boyfriend” and a compassion for her fellow travelers which caused her to write numerous travel guides on her blog.

Unfortunately, Jones passed away in 2019 from a sudden heart attack, according to her blog. It was discovered after her passing that Jones had a heart disease known as chronic myocarditis, a condition which inflames heart tissue and was likely caused by infections and virus.

To honor her memory Jones’ friends and family have organized the Go Red for Rachel Memorial 5K Run and Walk. All the funds raised from the race goes toward the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Go Red for Women movement, which is dedicated to raising awareness about heart disease in women.

“We named our event Go Red for Rachel for two reasons,” race director Melissa Goodall said. “Number one, we wanted to support an initiative that was a proponent of heart health and the AHA has their Go Red for Women initiative.

"Secondly, our good friend … Rachel Jones is who we do the race in honor of.”

The race, which will take place on June 4 in Lexington, is shaping up to be a success. For the inaugural event last year, 113 people participated and more than $10,000 was raised for Go Red for Women.

Goodall said race organizers would like to see 150 participants this year and hope to raise at least $7,500 to donate to Go Red for Women. 

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Goodall noted the group is trying to get Lexington students more involved in the race. Goodall and Jones are both Lexington grads and Jones’ mother works for the school district.

“We are trying to get the word out into the schools so we can get some student participation,” Goodall said. “Last year we had a decent amount of teacher and staff participation from the Lexington Schools.”

The top goal is raising awareness about heart disease in women, according to Goodall. According to estimates from the Center for Disease Control, one in five female deaths in the United States are caused by Heart Disease. It's the number one cause of death for women.

“Specifically for women, heart health isn’t always at the forefront of our minds,” Goodall said. “So we’re supporting (AHA’s Go Red for Women) initiative because unfortunately that was the case for Rachel. She was young, 29 years old, and had an underlying heart condition that was undiagnosed and untreated.

"So when the time came for her to need those life-saving measures, it didn’t matter 'cause her heart was already too worn out and beat up.”

Those interested in participating in the Go Red for Rachel Memorial 5K Run and Walk can find more information here

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