The Susan G Komen foundation has been getting a lot of press lately. The thing is I don’t like pink ribbons. They come out in October and everything goes pink. Even my coveted peanut butter M&Ms go pink and I refuse to buy them. Why you ask? So little of the money raised goes to research. If you stop and think with the billions of dollars raised they should have a cure for breast cancer by now. They don’t. Truth is cancer makes money and Komen likes stuffing their pockets.
February is for lovers and for the past 9 years it has been National Women’s Heart Health Month or simply known as Go Red for Women. I am sure you have seen the tiny little red dress pins or have heard women talk about them. I like red and I like dresses even more. I have always been apart of the Go Red For Women movement. Little did I know the information I was sharing would save my own life. On October 22nd 2009 I had a massive pulmonary embolism and stroke. I almost died 5 days before my 27th birthday. If the ER doctor hadn’t been informed about the link of hormonal contraceptives and blood clots I would have died. My family would have been planning my funeral instead of my birthday party. I would have never gotten to hold my niece Sophia. My story would have ended at 26.
However that day it didn’t end a new chapter was to be written. That chapter included learning to survive and live with my new normal. A normal that I have come to accept with grace. The only thing I can’t accept is that Heart Disease, strokes, and heart attacks kill more women per year than breast and gynecological cancers. Yet the government gives the National institute of health very little money to research heart disease in women. Breast cancer receive more money, yet thousands of women die each year from heart disease and strokes. It is truly the silent killer. Most women don’t know they are affected until its to late.
Heart disease deserves the same spot light as the pink ribbon. Maybe one day the NFL will paint a Red Dress on the 50 yard line and show our cause some love. Red dresses are cool and the women who wear them are even cooler. My stroke changed my life and cemented my purpose. As a You’re the Cure Congressional district leader I lobby for your heart. You are the reason I get up each morning and fire off emails to our congressmen, legislators, and anyone who listen to me. Why, because I hope one day I will be able to tuck my Red dress away because we eliminated heart disease. It’s a big dream, yet I know its possible. Because together we can and we will save lives by going Red.
We can show Komen whose boss by beating them to a cure, by promoting heart healthy living tips and sharing our stories. Our words, our journeys, and our hearts matter. As survivors we do not need a pink ribbon to make us feel important. We know we are important because each one of us beat the widow maker. Each one of us are standing above ground and continue to fight for those who lie six feet under us.
So I am asking from the bottom of my surviving heart that you put the pink away and wear Red on Friday February 3rd. Together we can save lives and we can find a cure for heart disease. We owe it to the hundreds of thousands of women who are six feet under to find that cure. Because those women were loved, they mattered, and someone is missing them dearly. Mostly those women matter to this survivor.