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Punki's seeing red for American Heart Month

PLATTSBURGH - When Paula Ashline gets passionate about a cause, she sticks with it.

That's why, when the month of February was approaching - which is nationally recognized as American Heart Month - she wanted to do something to help promote it where she works.

Ashline, a hair stylist at Punki's Shear Perfection, wanted the salon to help raise money for the American Heart Association, so she talked with owner Elizabeth "Punki" Duhaime, and she was all for it, Ashline said.

"When I asked Punki about it, she said 'Go for it,'" said Ashline.

Immediately, Ashline looked into what she could do to help the AHA, and found the salon could sell paper hearts and Go Red for Women pins. The idea skyrocketed in the first week of February, with dozens of hearts and pins already sold.

Though Go Red for Women Day last Friday focused on raising awareness of heart disease and stroke in women, Ashline said she's put an emphasis on Punki's campaign being about educating all people about the importance of heart health. As the mother of a grown son with a heart condition known as aortic stenosis, Ashline said she wants to do whatever she can to increase support for all who have a heart condition.

"It doesn't matter to me whether it's men or women," she said. "I want us to support everyone."

This isn't the first community-minded endeavor to come from Punki's. Most recently, the salon hosted a fundraiser in October selling ribbons in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. That effort collected more than $500 for the Treasure Chests, a local team that competed in the annual Northeastern New York Race for the Cure, which benefits the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

"These kinds of things are important to us," said Ashline. "That's why we do them."

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