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Hats Off to the Red Hat Society, Which Turns 10 Today
Date:4/24/2008

Global powerhouse has helped to redefine traditional notions of aging

through friendship and fun

FULLERTON, Calif., April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Women from coast-to-coast and around the globe once equated getting older with invisibility. Thanks to the Red Hat Society (RHS), founded 10 years ago today, perceptions began to change. In just one decade RHS has evolved from a few friends who donned red hats and purple outfits in the spirit of having fun at 50 and beyond, into a powerhouse organization that boasts close to 40,000 chapters in more than 25 countries. Today RHS is the leading global society committed to changing the way America views aging.

"When I turned 50, I felt there was still such a vibrant life ahead of me," said Sue Ellen Cooper, founder and president of the Red Hat Society. "I never would have thought that giving one friend a festive red hat to celebrate her 50th birthday would catch fire the way it did. But clearly this gesture symbolized something to older women -- that the second phase of life is ripe with potential for living life to its absolute fullest."

RHS appeals to women from all walks of life, as it enables women 50-plus to come together and make new connections through local, national and international gatherings, activities and a members-only online community. It also seeks to make a real difference in people's lives thanks to the vision of Debra Granich, CEO.

"We are thrilled to be collaborating with the American Heart Association in celebration of our 10th birthday in order to promote the importance of heart health among women," said Granich. "Through our 'Hatters Have Heart' campaign, we will raise awareness about this issue and urge women to take care of themselves."

Since 2004, Go Red For Women has captured the energy, passion, and intelligence of women to work collectively to wipe out heart disease -- the No. 1 killer of women. Today, we want millions of women across America to take heart disease personally. Using the simple platform "Love Your Heart," Go Red For Women engages these women -- and the men who love them -- to embrace the cause. Healthcare providers, celebrities and politicians also elevate the cause and spread the word about women and heart disease. For more information about Go Red For Women, call 1-888-MY-HEART (1-888-694-3278) or visit GoRedForWomen.org. The movement is nationally sponsored by Macy's and Merck & Co., Inc.

The spontaneous growth of the organization is due in great part to the coming of age of women of the baby boomer generation, the fastest-growing demographic around the world. Seventy-eight million strong, baby boomers have more than $28 trillion in assets and more disposable income than any previous generation. Boomer women influence 80 percent of the $2.1 trillion that this generation spends as a whole on consumer goods and services each year. And baby boomer women comprise more than half of RHS membership.

RHS's growth and model of sisterhood has been so successful that its leadership decided to include women under 50 as well, realizing it's never too early to forge intergenerational connections and new bonds. These women, known as "Pink Hatters," like their Red Hat counterparts, also enjoy gathering locally, nationally and internationally in a spirit of friendship.

RHS will formally pay tribute to its 10-year milestone by hosting a 'royal affair,' during which more than 400 RHS members will enjoy dinner, dancing and a Red Hat surprise on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California from 6 to 10 pm. Hundreds of RHS chapters throughout the country will be holding their own birthday celebration.

"While there are so many things our members enjoy, from discounts to rich experiences, what they seem to value most are the lasting connections they make," said Granich. "On our 10th birthday, I am proud that together we have led one of the revolutionary movements of our time -- one dedicated to showing the world the joy of what it means to be a woman approaching 50 and beyond."

Any woman can become a member of The Red Hat Society by signing up at http://www.redhatsociety.com, or calling "Hatquarters" at 866-FUN-AT50 or (866)-386-2850.

About The Red Hat Society

The Red Hat Society (RHS) is the leading global society committed to changing the way we view women aging. With close to 40,000 chapters in more than 25 countries, Red Hatters are redefining traditional notions of aging through fun, friendship and freedom.

For more information, visit http://www.redhatsociety.com.


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SOURCE Red Hat Society
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