CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. ó Mary Ida Vandross, mother of deceased Grammy winner Luther Vandross, will promote stroke awareness on WMPZís Caring for the Community health program on Saturday, May 12, at 11 a.m. May is National Stroke Awareness Month.

Vandross, a retired nurse, cared for her son following his stroke in 2003 and until his death two years later. After losing Luther, as well as three other children and a husband to diabetes and stroke, Vandross dedicated herself to educating the public about stroke and its risk factors.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of severe long-term disability in the country. The African-American population is at a disproportionate risk for stroke and is two times as likely as white Americans to die from the condition.

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and Memorial Health Care System are the sponsors of Caring for the Community, a health program designed to address health issues faced by minority populations. It airs each Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon on WMPZ-Groove 93.7 FM.


Mary Ida Vandross, stroke awareness advocate

Dr. Emil L. Matarese, primary stroke unit at St. Maryís Medical Center and board member for the American Stroke Association, Southeastern Region

Andrea Perry, WMPZ program host

What: Caring for the CommunityóStroke Awareness Program

Where/ When: WMPZ FM 93.7 Saturday, May 12 at 11 a.m.

Why: To raise awareness about the dangers of stroke and how minority populations are disproportionately affected

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at