National Wear Red Day was this past Friday- a perfect day to reflect on stroke, heart, volunteering and life in general.
National Wear Red Day brings me back to 2015 when I was serving as a National Spokeswoman for the Go Red for Women Campaign. That role of being the face and story of stroke for women around this country was such an honor. That was the year that I took initiative and created my Isurvivor page (www.facebook.com/ISurvivorLisaDeck) . My goal- then and now- was to share messages that promote wellness, good health and living actively with stroke and heart disease. Little did I know that it would lead to a new challenge of a fourth stroke and two brain surgeries. I still think of this day three years ago when my advocacy and volunteerism jumped to a new level. I’ve been in a lull this past month but looking at these memories reinvigorate me!
As part of the Go Red for Women campaign, I became a member of a group of strong, passionate, dedicated women with whom I instantly bonded. We connected because we share similar life-threatening experience. Yet, each of us is here today sharing our story and living full, long and happy lives. Social media has enabled us to maintain close relationships- especially considering we are spread around the country. We gain a new class of #heartsisters each year. On this special day every year, I love sharing in and seeing all the cool and amazing things my fellow volunteers and advocates are doing.
I have been blessed by close knit relationships from many phases of my life. Seeing family and friends donning their red outfits in support of my cause truly warms my heart. Sometimes it’s a needed reminder of the support and love that surrounds me and my family. This feeling extends to my community elementary school where my son attends school. Each year they host a Wear Red Day and even raised over $400 this year the American Heart Association. How cool!
Dates and special days are important to survivors. Wear Red Day gives me an opportunity to reflect on all that has happened in my life and feel blessed. I’m never quite sure what to do to acknowledge the day but volunteering this year sure seemed like a good option. I was asked by one of my favorite advocacy directors to assist her at a Tobacco Free Kids conference. Our goal was to collect reasons from teenagers to change the legal age to buy tobacco to 21. It was enlightening to see a group of teenagers engaged in a public health campaign. Spending the day helping also made me feel good inside.
Our family was hit by a flu like virus this past week. We had planned to attend an evening event on Wear Red Day but I had to prioritize our health. We had to opt for a low key family night. That brings me to reason #5 of why Wear Red Day is important…
My husband and kids are what I fight for as I battle my health challenges. They are who I want to learn the values of good health and a healthy lifestyle. They are the ones I want to teach about volunteerism and giving back. And they are my loves that I get to share my challenging, messy and awesome life with!
February is American Heart Month: a month dedicated to raising awareness of heart disease and stroke. Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds.
I know facts and statistics are important- even imperative to funding research, educating the public and developing drugs to assist patients. Yet, my primary interest and what I like to share is the people who are effected by cardiovascular disease. And sadly, there are plenty of them.
Thirty days of Heart & Stroke Survival Stories to inspire, educate and get you engaged in the conversation during Heart Month!
I’m continuously amazed at the strength, resiliency and passion of cardiovascular and stroke survivors and caregivers. Clearly, with incidence numbers so high, there are many people affected by these diseases…I’m fortunate to know an army of the most dedicated ones.
Serving as a longtime volunteer with the American Heart Association, I have made meaningful connections with many volunteers and advocates, and have ultimately learned that I am not alone. I’ve lost much from four strokes, two brain surgeries and a rare disease diagnosis, but gained even more: perspective, inner strength, a deep faith, unconditional family & friends and a network of peers who have overcome similar obstacles. I’m thrilled to introduce you to some of these incredible people over the next month. Please check out www.facebook.com/ISurvivorLisaDeck daily in February!
I reached out to my friends and network of people involved in the “Heart World” and am thrilled at so many quick and enthusiastic responses. Please learn about these heart heroes and the difference they are making. I truly believe in the harnessing of positive energy through shared connections. These heroes are just living their lives but ultimately making our communities better by sharing their challenges and victories.
Happy Heart Month! Please don’t forget to Wear Red & Raise Your Voice on National Wear Red Day – Friday, February 3, 2017. Please use the hashtag #GoRedWearRed and tag me (@ISurvivorLisaDeck) in your pictures.
Like I did last year, I hope to make a collage of all the people who are going red and making a difference!