Feb 09, 2012 Farah Jadran Uncategorized
February is National Heart Month and Friday, Feb. 3, marks National Wear Red Day. In a nutshell, having heart disease and health awareness should be at the forefront of our minds every day, not just during the month of February.
In an effort to keep awareness fresh every day of the year, Central New Yorker Leisha Tedford, a member of the Syracuse Go Red For Women’s Circle of Red, is sharing her personal experience with heart disease. In this way, community members will better understand the importance of staying heart healthy and being mindful of a disease that is the No. 1 cause of death in women.
Together the women of Go Red are bringing a voice to this silent killer to help save lives. A part of the campaign’s initiative is to encourage women to listen to what their hearts are telling them, talk to their doctors, and spread the word to friends and the community about making the right choices and taking action.
Recently Tedford shared her experiences with Syracuse Woman Magazine, the exclusive print media sponsor for the Go Red For Women campaign in Syracuse. Tedford, without a doubt, was the right woman to write a piece for the magazine’s anniversary edition released in early January.
Far from a wanted coincidence, Tedford was admitted to the ER less than two weeks before the magazine went to press in mid-December of 2011. She underwent a quadruple bypass and was in a fight for her life once again.
Because she had just submitted her article at the time, she and the staff at SWM discussed the situation and how this further reiterated the importance of being conscious of one’s heart health. Tedford is making progress every day and will continue making appearances at Go Red events in CNY.
The following are excerpts from her piece featured in the “In Her Own Words” section of Syracuse Woman Magazine:
Recently, during a conversation with my oldest daughter Chloe, I explained that when I was a teenager I had dreams for my life that echoed hers. I dreamed about my fairy tale that included a happy marriage, children, and a fulfilling career. I didn’t imagine a life that included divorce, bankruptcy, business failure, single-motherhood, depression, online dating, unemployment and health issues. I have found that life can be unfair and rewarding all at the same time. It’s all about perspective. My experiences were either lessons or blessings, or both. I am now thankful for every one of them.
With all those life lessons behind me, I was ready for change. I was excited for my future. Turning 40 came with much anticipation and I was ready to author a new chapter in my life. I didn’t know that my most challenging life lesson was lurking around the next corner. Three years ago I had a heart attack. My symptoms were minor, atypical, and easily explained away. What other working mom isn’t fatigued? And my nausea was obviously some “bug” I caught from my kids. I delayed seeking treatment and I am lucky to be alive. My only option for survival was an emergency open-heart surgery. I was terrified. I believed I was going to die. The thought of never seeing my children again was devastating to me and I was filled with regret. Waking up on life support in an ICU after surgery left me feeling deeply humbled and grateful. I was given a second chance in life.
I believe that my heart attack and experience with heart disease makes my journey very similar to your story. Heart disease is part of every woman’s story whether she knows it or not. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of all women in the United States and it kills more women than all forms of cancer combined including breast cancer. It’s a silent killer and typically the first symptom of a heart attack is death. Let my heart attack be your first symptom to share an experience and motivate you to become proactive with your own heart health. My heart is filled with gratitude for a second chance and I am passionate about educating women about heart disease and teaching them to live intentionally making each heartbeat count.
Several local businesses are hosting fundraisers for the Go Red For Women campaign in honor of Heart Month. Visit the Savvy Wine Cellar in Camillus during the evening Feb. 2 and 3, and Saturday afternoon Saturday, Feb. 4, for wine tastings that will benefit Go Red For Women. Also benefiting Go Red is the second annual Blowin’ Red event which will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Snake Oil Glassworks Inc. in Skaneateles.
For the Leisha’s full story, grab a print copy of the SWM anniversary January/February edition (featuring Mary Ellen Clausen on the cover) at Tops, Café at 407, Freedom of Espresso or Wegmans or visit syracusewomanmag.com/swm to view a digital version of the magazine. View the Nov/Dec edition on the website under the “Issues” selection on the homepage to see a story on the Circle of Red. Learn more about the Go Red For Women campaign at heart.org/goredsyracuse.