My paternal grandmother was a wonderful woman. A straight talker with a great sense of humor, she was devoted to her family, her friends, and her community.
She was my Grandma, but she also became my closest friend.
And she had heart disease.
Grandma started smoking as a young girl, long before anyone considered it an unhealthy habit. By the time the Surgeon General's warning about smoking came out in 1964, she had been smoking for almost 50 years.
She was unwell for the last 20 years of her life. She suffered two heart attacks and died too young.
I still miss her every day.
My husband is a cardiologist, and I know from his work how important heart healthy habits are. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women in the United States and causes one in three deaths per year, according to the American Heart Association. This reality is unacceptable.
If our Heart Sparkle Campaign can help even a few women lead heart healthier lives, we will have accomplished something meaningful and valuable. I am motivated by my love for my grandmother and my desire to prevent other women from suffering from heart disease.