As Wear Red Day sponsored by Go Red For Women approaches, I’ll be honoring all of the women in my life who have been affected by heart disease. Whether they have been directly or indirectly affected by heart disease, I must acknowledge several important women that I’ve gotten to know through my journey as a heart failure survivor.
It was the patience, attention, and kindness of my school nurse, Patricia Szyman, that ended up saving my life in the first place back in 2007. Had she not taken those heart rate and pulse readings and sent me back to class, I would have died roughly ten minutes later in the lunch room, right in front of my classmates. It was the humor, reassurance, and care of Dr. Betsy Blume that allowed me survive this near death experience and get me back up on my feet after spending a month in the hospital. It has been the sacrifice, love, and instincts of my mother, and sisters that have given me reason to fight and get better. They’ve been with me every step of this journey and continue to keep a close eye on me. As much as this has been my journey, it has also been theirs.
Through my involvement with the American Heart Association’s Community Teams, I’ve had the chance to meet some incredible women who have been directly affected by heart disease. I’d like to give a special shoutout to Jeanne Curley and Ashley Lucchese, two amazing women and mothers. Having the privilege of getting to know you, hearing your stories, and watching you turn a negative into a positive has sparked my desire to once and for all tackle the issue of heart disease among women.
It’s imperative that we continue the conversation about heart disease among women and what living a heart healthy lifestyle entails. We’re all in this fight to end heart disease together and it will take all of our collective energy and ideas to succeed in this initiative. I ask that you please wear red on Friday, February 2nd to show your support for women around the world who have been affected by heart disease.