While I was in cardiac rehab last year, one of the nurses who was in charge approached me and asked if I would be interested in joining a support group for women living with heart disease. She needed someone to check it out because she was impressed by this particular organization at a convention that she attended. She was interested in the possibility of starting a group at our hospital and wanted some feedback on the meeting. She introduced me to WomenHeart.
I went to the first meeting and was immediately welcomed and felt very comfortable. Comfortable, but uncertain…a little scared…I am generally a suspicious cynic. Did I really want to hear about what happened to this room full of women? Furthermore, would they really be interested in what happened to me, a total stranger in their midst? It turns out that I did and so did they. You get a perspective of your experience coupled with genuine compassion and understanding. All of my close friends and family were very supportive and encouraging after my “event.” But, none of them really “got” it. These ladies did.
Their purpose is to offer support and to “get the word out.” Sharing your story with just one woman might save a life. I had the privilege of attending a symposium on heart health for women that was sponsored by WomenHeart in September, 2010. The speakers were all types of female doctors who were concerned about women taking good care of themselves, with emphasis on their hearts. The symposium was both interesting and informative. In exchange for the opportunity to attend, I was to “pay it forward,” five hours of volunteer time to WomenHeart.
They offer a lot of venues to donate the time, especially during the month of February, which is Heart Health Month. I thought I would go to our February meeting and figure out how to give of my time, to help spread the word.
On January 14, 2011, I decided to post a “virtual” event on Facebook. I know that FB has been used as a venue to promote awareness for multiple causes, why not good heart health for women? I composed a list of ten points and “invited” 141 female FB friends and family. I encouraged them to send it on to their female friends and family…and so on. I was thinking that this would be a good way to spread the word and use some of the five hours.
As of this posting, my “virtual” event invitation has reached 6,815,363! I thought that it might grow a bit, but I had no idea that it would move this fast or get this big. Women are posting wonderful thoughts on the event wall. The number of personal messages I have received is amazing…the compassion…the love…it has humbled me and filled my mended heart with pride.
Friday, February 4, 2011 is National Wear Red Day…Please consider wearing red to show your support and raise heart health awareness for both women and men…A little thing…a suggestion for support…opening your heart to new ideas…spreading the word to protect each other…the power of love…is awesome…take good care of YOU…always…with love.