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Go Red for Women – my experiences

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Go Red for Women – my experiences

Post by Rachel August on Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:20 pm

As many of you already know, I was recruited this year to be the survivor spokeswoman for the West Michigan American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign. As you also know February is heart awareness month – so as this month comes to an end I’ll summarize – or rather chronicle my experiences now. (I apologize for the length)

First, I am so honored that I was chosen to be the spokeswoman, at times it was a tough grueling schedule as I rushed (because in many cases I was called to appear last minute) for another interview – but I gladly rearranged my schedule and drove to where ever in order to tell my story in hopes that it would either promote the AHA events – or maybe just maybe spark someone to get an overdue heart check-up.

Many times my activities left me simply exhausted. Many times my encounters with others who had lost a loved one to heart disease left me in tears. A few times I got the chance to acknowledge the courage and strength of a fellow survivor and I felt extreme joy and awe in their presence.

It was an emotional month for me to say the least.

I am not a public person by any means, I normally keep to myself, I like things quiet (I am a librarian after all) - I rarely invite people over to my house, and I’m in bed sleeping most nights by 7:00pm. Talking about myself so much over this past month left me drained and tired.

But I felt called to give back. West Michigan’s AHA had their big fund-raising luncheon yesterday. It was a tough day for me (mostly because I had to wear heels) – but also because I was speaking to a crowd of 270, some of whom are leaders in our community, some who are very wealthy, all of them were strangers to me.

Right before my talk they showed a few videos of other survivors (the professionally done AHA sponsored videos on YouTube) these are real women and their stories left me very emotional (so I felt a little like an idiot wiping my tears on my big heavy luxurious red table napkin) – then they showed my video (yes, people – strangers even – came to my house to film me) my eyes dried up and I was in “business mode” which is to say that I got myself to a place where I was ready to speak to this crowd - and speak clearly with intention. I made my speech after my video was over and I gave it with my heartfelt gratitude to all who were there.

I wear glasses, but I never wear them when I’m around people because it makes my life so stressful when I can see. So I didn’t know – I couldn’t see people’s reactions. After I had sat down we were called to make a pledge (it was a fund raiser after all) – I heard that some people had pledged in the thousands of dollars. I am not saying that any of this had anything to do with what I said but many people did come up to me afterwards telling me how they couldn’t stop crying when they heard me speak. I heard many people tell me that they were going to see their doctors because “oh my God Rachel – you’re a runner….. and so am I – and if this type of thing could happen to you…..” Many people simply hugged me.

So…..I can tell you that today (as in right now Friday 2/28) I feel so much better and much more relaxed, partly because I don’t have the stress of talking again – but mostly because I was really touched that others found what I had to say useful and moving.....and hopefully to some maybe even lifesaving.

After work today I'm headed out for a 90 minute massage...... and after that I'm locking myself in my house until next week! Thanks for reading if you got this far!

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Re: Go Red for Women – my experiences

Post by Tom price on Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:31 pm

I started writing a reply several times....but....all I can say is.....NICE!!!  Now relax and let your good work reap rewards...
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Re: Go Red for Women – my experiences

Post by Dave Tuttle on Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:38 pm

Super Cool!!! Lives touched and lives changed... It doesn't get any better than that Rachel!!

There is nothing easy about getting up in front of a large group and talking about something as highly personal and emotionally charged as your own heart journey but you do it very well. Thank you for giving so much back.

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Re: Go Red for Women – my experiences

Post by Guest on Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:22 pm

Aww, you made me get tears reading your post.  Not everyone can do what you have this past month, well done!  cheers

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Re: Go Red for Women – my experiences

Post by Rachel August on Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:59 pm

Thanks so much for your comments everyone - means a lot to me!!!

Can't wait to see you all in Cinci.....I'm looking forward to having some fun!

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Re: Go Red for Women – my experiences

Post by Gary E on Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:09 pm

Just noticed your record for treadmill running today (11 miles) on the team page for LogaRun! Is there anything you can't do?
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Re: Go Red for Women – my experiences

Post by Rachel August on Mon Mar 03, 2014 9:56 am

Gary E wrote:Just noticed your record for treadmill running today (11 miles) on the team page for LogaRun! Is there anything you can't do?

Thanks Gary - you always make my day!!!! Very Happy 

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Re: Go Red for Women – my experiences

Post by echoguy on Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:32 pm

Congrats on a great month!

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Re: Go Red for Women – my experiences

Post by russwyd on Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:30 am

Great story Rachel and wonderful to hear how you are motivating others and telling your story to the wider public. Brilliant stuff!

As for being in bed asleep by 7pm, I rarely get home from work until some time later, then I have training to fit in and more work until the early hours... think I should take a leaf out of your book on that one!
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