Thursday, January 20, 2011

FEBRUARY: Love month + Heart month = Love your Heart Month... through education, awareness and action!!

Thursday January 20, 2011

     February 4th, 2011 is “National Wear Red Day!  Join the American Heart Association and “Go Red For Women” organizations with me by supporting their mission to spread Heart Disease awareness and Heart Healthy lifestyles in your work places, homes, ladies organizations, exercise classes, group functions, anywhere and any place you will be, by wearing Red all Day!

     I am so excited and looking forward to a very busy February, working and sharing with the Metro Detroit area American Heart Association and Go Red For Women organizations!   This month will be full of local events, bringing awareness and educational information, and these events can be found on our local AHA website;  
Also, please see what is happening on the National level through the web site:

      I have been asked to share my story by the American Heart Association as a National Go Red For Women Spokeswomen.  I have spoke several times sharing my Heart Attack experience; the days before it, the day of, days following and rehabilitation. My personal experiences with Heart Disease goes way beyond this cardiac event, as I have lived with it in my life since I was a young girl, living in fear of losing a loved one to it.  I support the AHA and GRFW movement and ask you to consider this also.  By supporting this organization and its mission to educate women about risk factors, heart healthy life styles, this disease can be significantly lessened. All of us can contribute by educating ourselves our friends, loved ones, and children with information that is available to us today, especially with the Internet. I didn’t have this available to me when I was younger and appreciate that our children, with this information and action, can avoid this disease with early Heart Healthy choices. As I pause to think about how I got to this point in my own life’s journey with Heart Disease, having a Heart attack at age 46, both of my parent’s deaths from Heart disease, I realize that it all has contributed to who I am today and why I have chosen to share my personal journey with you…
      Ever since I was a young girl, age 12, I have been affected by Heart Disease. At the age of 39 my Mother was diagnosed with Mitral Stenosis, a narrowing of the Mitral valve in her heart. She was diagnosed with this only as a result of it having  progressed into Congestive Heart Failure.  I remember, like it was yesterday, the feeling I had when my father said " your mother has heart failure and needs open heart surgery"...what does that mean ?!! ... I thought.  I was frightened by the prospect of surgery and experienced a deep sense of aloneness.  Thirty two years ago, it wasn't a common place thing, and my mother had lost her mother to the same Heart Disease, her mother dying at the young age of 39.  Now,  here my mother was, the same age with the same diagnosis. She  was convinced that if she allowed the surgery to be done; she would not live through it. Her choice was to be treated medically (only medication) and opted out of surgery, this choice gave her ten more years of life.  She remained in the hospital a few more weeks, as the Doctors worked to regulate her heart rhythms and support her failing heart.  I missed her very much while she was hospitalized.  During my childhood years  things like this were not discussed with “the children”…that was our family dynamic. I don’t recall even going to see her at the hospital…just waited for her return. 
     As the eldest daughter, two older brothers and younger sister, I recall being very hard on myself during this time.  I instituted a self-directed crash course in domestic engineering immediately,  to fill this momentary void my family was feeling, experiencing.  My well-planned direction however was somewhat thwarted when my Italian Aunt Theresa (Bucciarelli, being my maiden name) came and visited, bi- weekly, to  inspect and help during my mother’s absence.  I found her to be a bit scary back then, and felt Attila the Hun had arrived.  She is a wonderful Aunt, this is just how I viewed her then. She made it very clear to me that I was to help take care of the home while my mother was away, a roll I took very seriously at a young age. I recall getting up early one morning with her clanging pots and pans in the kitchen, she emptied two huge pantries (each 5ft wide by 8 feet high, by 2feet deep). One was for food and the other housed all our pots, pans and utensiles.  She felt a need to have me clean, reline, and reorganize both.  I then was given a crash coarse in cooking by her.  Again, I felt very alone.  My focus became one of domestic issues and not of my mothers illness.  I had a need to understand her Disease, illness and hoped for any explanation… information. I felt the same way with my Father’s journey with Heart Disease.  I will share his story another day as well as what I experienced having my own heart attack, everything I felt before, after, in between and my stupidity and denial.
     This is one of the reasons I chose to share and tell my Heart story… it’s to encourage those who have had similar experiences in their lives, to share with those in their own families, friends and particularly the children.  Aloneness visited me all through my growing years, and continued to through adulthood in regards to my family’s experiences with Heart Disease. Suffice it to say even after choosing a heart related field to work, as an adult, this sense of being alone, in understanding and sharing, still haunted me, until I found, or should I say they found me…an organization, Go Red For Women.  They are an organization under the direction of the American Heart Association that has helped fill a void I have had in my life, in regards to Heart Disease.  I have found a caring, sharing, empathetic, wonderful, full-hearted group of ladies (yes, and men) who have opened my eyes, heart and desire to share my story, so that others can learn from it.  Interesting enough, I wasn’t truly aware of the depth of my aloneness, in Heart Disease, until asked to speak a few sentences at the National, NBC Special Premier, held at the NASDAQ in New York City, this past fall.  I have always been a very controlled individual, however when I got up in front of the many that attended and started to speak, I was overcome with emotion... I had an epiphany. These people who were in attendance were here to support me,  to understand and help me and others understand the complexities of Heart Disease and what can be done to lessen it. They understood… they were CEO’s, CFOs’, Presidents, Vice Presidents of huge corporations, journalists, American Heart Association Staff, Go Red For Women Staff, Heart disease survivors… and they were there to support, raise funds to fight and understand this insidious disease, that of which had affected me so deeply for so many years. I found myself welled up with emotion and tears, which I very rarely show anyone, ask my kids!  I quickly regained my composure and spoke.  I don’t remember what came out of my mouth to be quite honest, but I do remember and always will the feeling of joy I had... and a short thought  I spoke internally…“ They understand".

There can be no happiness equal to the joy of finding a heart that understands.
~ Victor Robinson

     As this February draws near I want to turn heads and hearts towards this wonderful organization.  Their mission is to truly help women lessen their risk of Heart Disease.   Our Detroit Metro chapter will be lighting Municipal buildings Red, having our Go Red Luncheon at the MGM on Feb 24th (everyone welcome), many local events…February 4th at the Black Finn in Royal Oak (Happy Hour 7pm to 10pm), February 15th, Huntington Woods Women’s League’s sharing and watching GRFW NBC special, and so much more.  Again, please check out the local web site listed above.
     By wearing Red all day, Feb 4th, you will be supporting this organization and women all over who have been affected by this Disease, either themselves or a loved one. Heart Disease is not gender specific or age specific.  It affects all nationalities on all continents and is now Nationally the number one killer of Women. Lets lessen the number of Women that are affected by this disease.  Ladies, we need to learn to take care of ourselves, so we can take care of our loved ones!

Sincerely and from the heart,

Oh one more thing... If you feel inclined to help Go Red For Women, the American Heart Associaion and National Go Red Day" by your cash blessings, please feel free to do so.  Your support would be greatly appreciated and welcomed!
Please visit: ... to help me reach my goal by February 4th!


  1. Great post!!! I learn something new (about you and your mission) with each story you share with us. Thank you for taking the time to do this... you have followers, supporters, and admirers who love you very very much! Because of your courage to share your story, I find myself (more and more) sharing mine. Your brilliance is epic! Everyone at the career center this Feb. 4th will be wearing red!! :)

  2. Ang...thank you and please take some pictures of all the ladies and men in Red at the career center on Feb. 4th! I would love to see them!