The American Heart Association of Southern New England (AHA) is calling on women across Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts to share their stories of surviving heart disease or stroke for the Heart2Heart campaign. Several survivors will be selected to locally represent the Go Red for Women campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the leading causes of death in women – heart attack and stroke – and support the upcoming annual Go Red for Women Luncheon on February 14, 2020. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI), the campaign sponsor, will donate $25,000 to the luncheon in the name of the class of 2020 Heart2Heart survivors.
“I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the incredible advances in medicine and research that the American Heart Association works tirelessly toward. It’s their mission to keep hearts beating around the world,” said Lynette Lopes, heart transplant survivor.
Submitting a personal story is simple. Women are invited to visit bcbsri.com/heart and complete a brief form and share their stories now through November 15, 2019, when the call for submissions ends. Applicants will be invited to the Heart2Heart Storytellers Showcase hosted by BCBSRI later this year, where the official Heart2Heart survivors will be announced.
Three years ago, Christina DiFabio had heart surgery. “I was lucky to be part of the 2018 Storytellers,” DiFabio says. “I met amazing women, not only survivors like me, but also amazing supporters and members of the American Heart Association.”
For DiFabio, it also gave her the opportunity to not feel alone. “This experience with Storytellers allowed me to open up and share my story for the first time. It felt very freeing and I loved being part of the bigger cause,” DiFabio says. “I learned from meeting many women that everyone knows a woman with a heart disease story. I’m proud and honored to be a part of this group!”
Melissa Cummings, executive vice president and chief customer officer at BCBSRI, has seen the tremendous impact of the Heart2Heart campaign over the last four years.
“Many of us know the statistics about women and heart disease, but knowing the numbers doesn’t always lead to change. Stories matter. By generously sharing their personal journeys, the Heart2Heart Storytellers have inspired women to protect their heart health,” says Cummings. “The Storytellers have also built a supportive community where other women who have experienced heart disease can tell their own stories. It’s wonderful to see.”
“At Blue Cross, we’re honored to once again sponsor the Heart2Heart Storytellers,” says Cummings. “We’ll be donating $25,000 to Go Red for Women in the names of our 2020 Storytellers.”
To learn more about the Heart2Heart campaign, please visit bcbsri.com/heart, and to learn more about the Go Red for Women Luncheon, please visit SNEGoRedLuncheon.heart.org; or contact Michelle Clark at [email protected] or 401-228-2322.