The American Heart Association sponsors National Wear Red Day®️ on the first Friday of every February in order to raise awareness of heart disease in women. By wearing red to promote and support this cause, we can honor loved ones who have suffered heart attacks, strokes or other effects of heart disease, as well as, draw more attention to the risks of heart disease in women. We should also use this as a reminder to ourselves to have regular physical examinations, eat healthier foods and exercise more in order to protect that part of our body that keeps it all pumping!
Back in my day, well, actually a lot less time back than that, Heart Disease was thought to strike mostly men. With women’s symptoms usually being quite different from what a National Wear Red Day®️ experiences, women were rarely considered targets of heart disease. Based on these issues, early detection was uncommon, which is “heart breaking” considering that according to the AHA, “80% of cardiovascular diseases maybe preventable with education and action.”
Many people today still do not realize how vastly this affects women. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, in the U.S., states that “Coronary Heart Disease is the #1 killer of women in the United States.” We have to raise awareness about hosw this disease is killing women and that is exactly why we Go Red For Women®️!
Ok, this is where it gets real…
You can read “My Story” below to understand what inspired me to start honoring my mother, Jackie, in February 2009 by participating in Go Red For Women®️. It wasn’t a big deal. I just asked co-workers in my area at the community college where I work, to wear red on this day if they wished to participate. Well, as usual, these amazing people stepped up and we had red hats, red shirts, red dress pins, red fingernails…you get the picture! Go Red For Women®️ throughout the office!
We continue this tradition every year with more people on campus coming over to our offices showing off their red attire in support. We try to have fun whatever we are doing, so one year we put a red dress with white polka dots on a headless mannequin and took turns having our heads photographed with the mannequin body. Last year, we made a simple photo booth by hanging a big, red tablecloth with white hearts on the wall. We let everyone write the names of people they “Go Red” for, on the hearts and took pictures in front of it using funny props.
The tradition has extended off campus to our friends, friends of friends, family members and the community. On this day, all day, I receive selfies and group pictures of people in their red attire. Some are supporting me, some remembering my mother. Most have had a friend or family member touched by heart disease. Whatever the reason they choose to participate, they are helping bring awareness about heart disease in women to more and more people.
When I send out the Go Red For Women®️ email reminder every year about this time, “My Story” is attached for any new employees or in case anyone wants to share it with their friends and family. My mother was truly an inspiration to anyone that knew her. I have missed her every day of the past 13 years and will continue to miss her always.
Won’t you please Go Red For Women®️ with me on Friday, February 1st and proudly help raise awareness about heart disease in women? It could save a life! You are very special and deserve a HAPPY HEALTHY HEART!
My mother had her first heart attack when she was 36. I was in the 5th grade. She lost an entire artery and was told that she could not go back work. She was disabled…
As a child, that did not mean much to me, except that, my mother was sick and couldn’t do a lot of the things that she used to do. She had been working as a teacher/librarian, going to school to get her Master’s Degree in Education, looking forward to a bright career ahead, as well as being a wife and active mother of two young girls. As I got closer to that age, and then even more when I passed it, I realized how young she was and how life-altering that must have been for her.
She survived another heart attack when she was about 50 and because of her determination, lived a very full life even though her heart was only pumping at about 10% capacity. She dedicated herself totally to her family and friends instead of focusing on her illness.
On Feb. 6, 2006, she collapsed at a middle school basketball game, was taken to the hospital by ambulance and died two days later, on February 8, 2006 of congestive heart failure.
With National Wear Red Day®️ occurring the first Friday of every February, I thought this would be an awesome way to honor her for being so strong and persevering, when I know she hardly had the energy to get up every morning.
At her celebration of life, we played a song that was very special to her, “I Hope You Dance” by Leann Rimes. I hope that the next time you hear this song, you will think about her and remember that life is short. You must dance, live fully, laugh much, love, pray, enjoy your friends and take care of yourself!
If you have a story you wish to share, please feel free to comment.
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