A prophecy and a passion for health

Dr. Charolette Leach

A prophecy and a passion for health
January 28
09:40 2023

By: Sarah Fedele

A prophecy to “Keep on Running” received by Dr. Charolette Leach, First Lady of Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, over 35 years ago revealed her passion and calling to promote health. To this day, God still speaks to her while she runs. Her master’s degree in exercise science and a personal focus on health have helped her to bring this prophecy and passion to life in Winston-Salem. 

With her husband, Dr. Dennis Leach, Sr., they have been focusing on health at Morning Star Missionary Baptist for the last 13 years. Charolette created the Health Promotion Ministry for their congregation and their church is an active member in the NC Council of Church’s Division of Partners in Health and Wholeness. They also created the Morning Star Community Garden providing free produce, have done gospel aerobics, and support a backpack orogram benefiting local elementary schools. After COVID, they are also realizing the need to focus on mental wellness and caregiver support. 

Participating in local community health events is another way they have engaged their congregation. Ladies from Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church have dressed up in their finest church red and attended the American Heart Association’s Red Dress Tea for the last eight years. The Red Dress Tea is a faith-based event focused on reducing cardiovascular risk for African American women. “Our ladies love to dress up and thoroughly enjoy the fellowship that comes with the health messages of this event. It is a blessing to receive pertinent health information and answers to our questions from clinicians who look like us. This also gives us the opportunity to follow-up and contact them for their services,” Charolette said.  

Go Red for Women is an American Heart Association year-round movement focused on awareness, prevention education, risk factor reduction, healthy behavioral changes, and women’s heart health research to ensure all women have the opportunity to live a long and healthy life. 

Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States, claiming more women’s lives each year than all forms of cancer combined. Black women are at an even greater risk for heart disease and stroke. The good news is that heart attack and stroke-related events can be largely preventable with education and lifestyle changes, such as knowing your vital health numbers, moving more, eating smarter and managing blood pressure. 

Charolette’s mother, Mary Christine Hagan, had two strokes, suffered a major heart attack, and passed away at the age of 71 due to cardiovascular issues. Charolette strives to be healthy and active to do everything she can to prevent heart disease and stroke. 

Charolette is an avid exerciser, normally running about five miles three times a week on her treadmill. “I started running while still living in Pennsylvania, and almost 45 years later, at the age of 66, as long as I can, I will keep on running,” she said. 

Now she has one more incredible reason to continue being her healthiest, Azariah Christine Bell, her first biological grandchild. “My plan is to do all that I can to have the best quality of life to live to see her grow up. She is the joy of my life. Every time we are together, we listen and dance to ‘You are the sunshine of my life,’” Charolette shared. With her continued focus on health, Charolette will have a lifetime of moments like this to cherish. 

To learn more about preventing heart disease and stroke or to get involved with Go Red for Women in the Triad, visit

Go Red for Women is nationally sponsored by CVS Health, and locally sponsored by Life is Why Sponsor, Novant Health, and Platform Sponsor, Go-Forth Pest Control.


Sarah Fedele is director of communications and marketing for the American Heart Association.

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