A few nights ago I, along with fellow SCAD patient and SCAD research instigator, Katherine Leon, was honored and humbled to be one of the 2012 Woman's Day Red Dress Award winners. It was a tremendous once in a lifetime experience, and I am so grateful to have been part of such a wonderful evening, surrounded by inspiring people all united in the fight against women's heart disease.
Several people have asked, so here's the text of my award acceptance:
This award doesn't belong to me.
It belongs to every woman who’s ever been told she's too young for heart problems.
It belongs to every woman who's ever been sent home from the emergency room and told that her crushing chest pain is just acid reflux.
It belongs to every woman who's ever been told that it's all in her head.
It belongs to every woman who's ever spent a sleepless night staring at the ceiling, wondering how she could possibly have had a heart attack at her age.
It belongs to every woman who's never met another person with the same diagnosis.
It belongs to everyone who’s ever been told, "There's nothing to research."
It belongs to all the women who are no longer here, because it couldn't possibly be their hearts.
On behalf of all of those people -- all of US -- thank you.
Thank you to WomenHeart, and to the WomenHeart Support Community on Inspire, which was a lifeline for me when I was newly home from the hospital, scared, with no one to talk to.
Thank you to Katherine Leon--none of this would have happened without her, and the years of work she's put in. I have been honored to share a small part of this journey with her, and I look forward to continuing to work together as we reach out to SCAD survivors across the globe.
Thank you to Dr. Sharonne Hayes, for saying "Yes." Thank you to Dr. Marysia Tweet for all the work on the SCAD study pilot and the two subsequent studies.
Thank you to John Novack of Inspire, for introducing me to the concepts of participatory medicine and the broader world of e-patient advocacy.
Thank you to my wonderful husband Paul, who's been with me on every step of this journey, starting out at the hospital in my Batman jammies--if I'd known I was going to be wearing them for a week, I might've dressed up a little...
Thank you to my family, here tonight, who provided tremendous love and support and didn't waver in the face of this rare, frightening experience.
Thank you to the wonderful community of SCAD survivors; fantastic women who reach out to each other from all corners of the world.
Thank you to my cardiologist, Dr. Cody Deen, who cares for the whole patient, not just my heart.
And thank you to Woman's Day, for taking on the tremendous task of raising the profile of women's heart disease. We're all in this together. Thank you all, and good night.