In the blink of an eye that all changed for me. In a matter of hours I learned more about heart disease, heart transplantation, congestive heart failure, and cardiovascular issues than I ever knew existed. I listened carefully to the doctors and nurses and I think I asked intelligent questions. I wrote down the names of medications and researched why they were used. I was scared when Tracie had her first heart attack, and my reading on the medications she was taking was even more frightening. She was one sick lady. Early on the doctors at Tufts mentioned implanting an LVAD, but over time her heart grew stronger and the LVAD wasn't necessary.
I learned much in the weeks that followed. As I researched heart failure I came across the Go Red for Women web
page and learned even more. Most important - heart disease is the Number 1 killer of women. Number 2 - heart disease can be prevented. It was too late for us, we had to learn to live with heart failure. For so many more families
there was a chance. Through the magic of Facebook I began posting articles from the AHA and Go Red. That first year, 2010, I gave out about thirty "red dress" pins to family and friends. I hope that we helped make a difference in someones life with the information we passed along.
In August of 2010 I was on Storrow Drive, going to work, and saw banners on the street lights advertising the Boston Heart Walk. "There's a Heart Walk? Really?" I signed up as soon as I could, with the name Team Tracie. We raised some money, and on walk day Tracie, along with our daughters Jessica and Katie, and friend Tracy and her daughter Erin walked two miles. My son Eric, my friend Roxanne, and I walked the six mile loop around the Charles River. In 2011, with the help of my good friend Janet, we changed our name and we walked at Hearts and Soles. We sold red wrist bands and asked for donations. We raised over $4,000. 2012 was our best year to date. Hearts and Soles raised over $6,000 and for the first time we wore matching T-shirts. You can see the shirts on our Facebook page.
We can't repay what we have received from St. Elizabeth's Hospital, Tufts Medical Center or Mass. General Hospital. The care that Tracie received from the dedicated and knowledgable staffs was incredible. Our gratitude to MGH, where Tracie has received most of her care is endless.
I will also offer a huge THANK YOU! to Boston EMS. Nine times they responded to our home, and nine times Tracie made it MGH alive and eventually walked out of MGH nine times. For 26 years I have worked alongside Boston EMS, and I have often said that I would put their EMT's and Paramedics up against any ER staff in the City, and that Boston EMS would hold their own. They are that good.
So, why Go Red? It's easy. To save ONE life. Maybe yours, maybe someone you love. On February 1, 2013, get your red on. Start now. Plan Go Red events at your work. "Fine" anyone who doesn't wear red and make a donation to the AHA. February is Nation Heart Month. What a great time to make heart-healthy changes in our lives. To each of you reading this, you deserve a long, healthy life. Start now. Go Red!