2011 Go Red for Women Chairperson
Corporate Vice President and Treasurer
Parker Hannifin Corporation
Welcome to the Cleveland Go Red for Women Luncheon! We’re delighted you want to learn how you can advance health, stop heart disease and save women’s lives. That’s what Go Red For Women is all about.
Heart disease isn’t just a man’s problem. It’s a woman’s problem, too. In fact, it’s women’s No. 1 killer. And, tragically, far too few women realize their risk from this often-preventable disease. We need to raise women’s awareness, to protect our mothers, daughters, sisters, friends and other loved ones. And ourselves.
You can help, starting today. Here’s how:
First, take charge of your own heart health. Visit your doctor. Know your numbers (learn more at goredforwomen.org). You can improve your blood pressure, cholesterol and other numbers by making lifestyle changes. You’ll be healthier and look and feel better, too.
Second, speak up. Help spread the word that heart disease is women’s No. 1 killer. You can make a difference. Choose to share what you learn today with your family and members of your community.
Third and last, consider making a contribution. Your donation will help fund local and national Go Red activities to support awareness, research, education and community programs to benefit women.
Please don’t leave today without committing to make a difference. Join the Go Red For Women movement — women need your help. There’s so much to do, and so much at stake. Only one in five women believes that heart disease is her greatest health threat. Reducing risk and preventing heart disease starts with education — and you.
By working together, we can help women and their families live longer, stronger lives. Thank you for your generous support.
Chief Executive Officer
American Heart Association
My name is Kristen and I have Marfan Syndrome.
My mother had Marfan Syndrome.
I was diagnosed with Marfan when I was three years old.
Marfan Syndrome is a genetic connective tissue disorder that puts me at risk of a tearing of the main artery that leads away from the heart.
My mother died from the effects of Marfan on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2000. She was only 43 years old.
The night my mother died changed everything. After that night, I became afraid.
Afraid of every chest pain
Afraid that every weird beat would slowly take my life.
Afraid that Marfan would kill me.
I had aortic root replacement surgery on Sept. 19, 2006.
I remember the anesthesiologist telling me they were going to fix my aorta and then I wouldn't need to be back in the O.R. for 60 years.
I was back in that O.R. three days later.
My doctors realized my heart wasn't getting proper blood flow. The coronary arteries that had been severed and reattached as a part of the surgery 3 days before were blocked.
Just as they were giving my husband and I the news, my vision went black.
I was rushed into emergency surgery.
My husband was only given a few seconds to talk to me. He asked me if I knew what was happening and told me he loved me.
As I was wheeled into surgery, I remember thinking to myself, "This is not going to happen like this. I'm not going to let this happen. I’m not going to die like this."
I had an emergency triple bypass, I was only 26 years old.
My heart was so weakened after my surgery that I had a balloon pump doing the work for my heart and they couldn't close my chest for five days.
After the surgery I was still sedated, but I squeezed my husband's hand to tell him I loved him.
I was in the hospital for 62 days. I got pneumonia, MRSA, went into heart failure and had to have a tracheotomy. I was in bed for so long that I lost muscle mass and had to work with physical therapy just to stand up and walk even the shortest distances.
It wasn’t until after I was released that my husband told me the doctors had been considering placing me on the heart transplant list.
In 2009, I had my third surgery to repair a leaking valve made worse by the trauma of the first surgeries. I was afraid
I couldn't understand how it was possible to have a successful surgery after all I had been through. But it was a success.
Why do I Go Red? I go red for my husband who has supported me, waited by my side through the good and the bad and helped me as I faced my fears.
And I Go Red for my mom, who was my best friend and the mom I aspire to be.
Join Kristen Miller and Make it Your Mission to help in the fight against heart disease in women.
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