Women want to be the face of heart disease

February 4, 2009 5:44:18 PM PST
WakeMed teamed up with the American Heart Association Wednesday to look for a spokeswoman to talk about heart disease.They asked entrants to tell their stories about battling heart problems for the Go Red For Women campaign. Dozens of triangle women affected by heart disease told their stories at a casting call.

“Three of my four grandparents have passed away due to some heart disease,” said spokeswoman hopeful Harriett Stevens.

“When I was pregnant with my daughter, and when I was in the doctor’s office, my husband came to me and said my mom had just had a heart attack,” recalled Portia Walton.

Heart disease is not widely regarded as a woman's problem, but it's actually the number one killer of women in America. One out of four die of it, and thousands more suffer heart attacks.

Part of the problem is the signs and symptoms are often not realized by victims, and nearly two-thirds have no symptoms at all.

The Go Red for Women campaign is trying to change that with its educational messages. The local woman picked to be a spokeswoman will be a national candidate.

“We’re gonna send her to our national competition to become a faces of heart for Go Red For Women, our national campaign,” said Sloan Garner with the American Heart Association. “So, she could be on billboards, on websites, on brochures and materials.”

Marti Palmer shared her story hoping to be chosen.

“My mother passed away at 56 from heart disease,” said Palmer. “I have the same type.”

At 68, Palmer is beating heart disease through diet and exercise. She believes her inspiring story would make her a good spokeswoman.

“I’ve survived heart disease,” said Palmer. "I’ve survived a blood clot that was thrown out of my heart down into my arm. I survived that. You still don’t stop living.”

Palmer didn’t realize heart disease affected so many women until it hit her directly. But, she's hoping her story and the Red campaign will help change that for others.

The Go Red For Women campaign will get a lot of attention Friday. That’s when millions across the country will wear red to raise awareness about coronary heart disease.

A second casting call for a spokesperson will be held on February 6 in Cameron Village in Raleigh next to the women’s clothing store, Talbots from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.


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