For a decade, Sue Trinque has been slipping into a ruby-red costume in the shape of a giant heart.
The outfit is to raise awareness about heart health at events like the Southern New England Heart Walk.
The former fourth-grade teacher has been volunteering with the American Heart Association and is a top walker and team captain of The Mended Hearts. Last year they raised over one thousand dollars for the Southern New England American Heart Association.
Trinque rallies walkers with a wave, a smile and kind words.
“I think it’s encouraging for people to be thanked at a walk and let them know they are making a difference by taking part in the event,” said Trinque.
Trinque faced her own personal health crisis right in the classroom she taught in.
The 68-year-old has a family history of heart disease. Her uncle died of heart disease and her father had several heart attacks.
In 2005, Trinque was returning to work at the Woonsocket school where she taught after April vacation.
“I had back pains over the weekend but thought it was from dragging my luggage around, but the pain returned that Monday,” she said.
Sitting in the classroom, Trinque felt pain radiating throughout her body and she had been sick before class began.
Trinque asked one of the girls in the classroom to get the school nurse.
“I told myself I am not dying in front of these kids,” said Trinque.
The nurse came into the classroom, took Trinque out of the room and told her that she was positively gray and sweating profusely.
An ambulance was called and Trinque was taken to Landmark Hospital. There she was told she was having a heart attack and she was taken to Miriam Hospital where she had two stents put in.
“I feel so fortunate that I have not had any other heart issues since then,” Trinque said. She takes daily medication, visits her cardiologist and now goes to the gym.
“The biggest change that I’ve made is going to work out five days a week,” she said.
Trinque lost her husband in 2007. The socialization of going to the gym combined with the benefits of exercise have made her stick with it. “I have people checking up on me and holding me accountable if I miss a day or two at the gym!” said Trinque.
Trinque recently welcomed her first grandchild into the world. She hopes her newly expanded family will be able to join her for the Southern New England Heart Walk in Providence on June 2nd.
She will be suited up in the red heart costume again and ready to encourage walkers.
“Greeting the people and hearing their survivor stories is so meaningful for me,” said Trinque. “I am hoping we can increase the number of teams walking and let people know the money they donate makes such a difference.”
For more information on upcoming Heart Walks in Southern New England please visit our website at sneheartwalk.org. Or email Heart Walk Directors Patrice Jean-Philippe at Patrice.JeanPhilippe@heart.org or Debra Honor at Debra.Honor@heart.org