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Columnist Ronda Rich entertains crowd in Griffin

Ronda Rich, a syndicated columnist and Southern humorist, was the featured speaker at Spalding Regional Hospital’s “Heart Yourself” event Thursday.

Ronda Rich, a syndicated columnist and Southern humorist, was the featured speaker at Spalding Regional Hospital’s “Heart Yourself” event Thursday.

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A contingent from Butts County came to the “Heart Yourself” event, including Diane Snyder (from left), Ellen Brewer, Melinda McLarnon, Ronne Shaw and Pat Trenton.

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Spalding Health employees Lisa Johnson (from left), Nancy Franklin, Rebecca Ruhl and Kristie Head-Stodghill pose for a photo at the “Heart Yourself” event.

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Spalding Health employees Erica Fishell (from left), Nancy Rollins, Elaine Morgan and Paula Imes pose for a photo at the “Heart Yourself” event.

More than 200 women, and a very small handful of men, packed into a banquet room Thursday at the Griffin Welcome Center for Spalding Regional Hospital’s “Heart Yourself” event, featuring syndicated columnist Ronda Rich.

The event drew an enthusiastic crowd of fans of Rich’s Southern humor and homespun storytelling.

“After all, have you ever heard anyone called a Northern humorist?” Rich joked with the audience.

Between stories about her beloved Mama, her dog Dixie Dew, and her new husband Tink, some of which readers of her column may be familiar with, Rich spoke of the importance of faith, family and staying true to your roots.

In addition to her widely syndicated column, which appears in the Gwinnett Daily Post, Rich is also the author of the best-selling books “What Southern Women Know (That Every Woman Should),” “My Life in The Pits” about her years as a NASCAR reporter, and “The Town That Came A-Courtin’,” which is being made into a TV movie.

Her latest book is “There’s A Better Day A-Comin’.”

But the “Heart Yourself” event, an observation of American Heart Health Month by the hospital, also had a very serious message about heart health for women.

Dr. Brian Remington, a Griffin cardiologist, told the audience about how the signs and symptoms of a heart attack are very different for women than men, and can come in the form of what seems like general fatigue or sweaty spells, which aren’t typical males signs.

“Don’t minimize what you’re feeling,” Remington said. “There could be something significant in there for you.”

He said plaque in women’s arteries is more susceptible to layer than clump like men’s, and is therefore more difficult to treat.

He also warned of the dangers of smoking, which he said can lower the average age of a woman’s first heart attack from 70 to 51.

After the event, which was catered by Ooh La La of Barnesville and Jackson, Rich signed and sold books for audience members.

Click to read Ronda Rich's columns.