The DC Council chamber was brimming with excitement on February 2, as You’re the Cure advocates filed in to celebrate the beginning of American Heart Month. Wearing red as a symbol of awareness, AHA supporters gathered around Councilmember Yvette Alexander and other members of the Council as she presented a ceremonial resolution that declared February 5th as “National Wear Red Day” in the District of Columbia.
Councilmember Alexander detailed startling statistics: 44 million women in the US are affected by heart disease; more women than men die of heart disease in the District; and heart disease and stroke kill one out of three women in the U.S.. Despite these stark facts, the message of the day was one of hope—80% of deaths due to heart disease and stroke are preventable.
A You’re the Cure advocate and stroke survivor, Deb Wells accepted the resolution on behalf of the American Heart Association. She told her story of suffering an unexpected stroke at age 42 in the middle of her career, resulting in 2 years of recovery. A few years later, her heart stopped for 19 seconds. Wells jokingly commented, “For someone like me, Wear Red Day is very…pardon the pun…near and dear to my heart.”
Both Alexander and Wells encouraged women to talk to their doctors, to become aware of their health status, and to “know their numbers.” If trends continue, 1,300 women will die of heart disease this year in Washington, DC, but Wells reminded the audience and Councilmembers that 80% of those deaths can be prevented.
“Wear Red Day is about awareness…it’s about knowing you can make a difference, not only for yourselves and your families, but for all of those around you that are watching you make better choices. “We’re going to wear red Friday, but that doesn’t mean that the awareness has to stop.”
Show your support by going red every day! Sign up at GoRedForWomen.org/WearRedDay to check out helpful resources, tools, and tips. Help us stop the number 1 killer of women by going red!