A Note from Mary – April 2018

It’s less than two weeks until our annual Wenger Awards—a memorable night meant to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of those working to improve our world for women with heart disease. The event brings together some of the best and the brightest in the field.

This year marks the 18th annual gala and my eighth time leading this important event at WomenHeart. Sometimes, I can’t even believe it myself—that an integral part of my job involves honoring exceptional leaders contributing to advancing women’s heart health, whether through scientific discovery, new groundbreaking research, persistent political advocacy, or raising awareness by portraying important and real stories on television.

This year’s honorees are remarkable, and I’m excited to spend the evening showing the rest of the world just how much you can make a difference at the individual level.

As the #1 killer of women, heart disease can often feel like a daunting diagnosis and societal problem too big for any of us to make a real difference in overcoming. But there are small ways that every person can do their part to fight for every heart, our theme for this year’s Wenger Awards:

  1. Educate yourself and other women: The more that women know about heart disease, the easier it will be to know when to seek help, advocate for yourself, and understand that every minute matters when it comes to the physical makeup of your heart. We have to encourage more women to take time for themselves and put their health first—for the good of those they love.
  2. Talk about it: Have a conversation with an important woman in your life. Only 55 percent of women know that heart disease is their leading cause of death, and because of this, many women may not know how their symptoms are often different from men’s.
  3. Focus on prevention: There’s a lot we can’t control and there are some risk factors for heart disease we can control. Eighty percent of heart disease is preventable. This includes diet, exercising, and knowing your cholesterol and blood pressure numbers. Ask your doctor to get screened and have the conversation about your #1 health risk. At WomenHeart, we mostly interact with women in need of support and resources, and we are happy to help through all of our wonderful programs. We’d also like make sure that women don’t only find out about WomenHeart after they’ve had a heart attack or lived with a heart defect for all their lives.

This year, I invite you to attend our Wenger Awards with a woman you love. Named for Dr. Nanette Wenger, a visionary and a leader in women’s cardiovascular health, the awards ceremony honors those fighting to advance women’s heart health. A true trailblazer who paved the way for others, Dr. Wenger spent her career conducting groundbreaking research that ultimately led to what we know today—heart disease in women can look very different. She focuses on the intricacies and nuances of women’s heart disease and highlights the benefits and need for more women to participate in clinical trials. Today at 87, she’s still practicing medicine as what some would call, “a rock star physician.”

May her remarkable leadership inspire us to continue to advance the science, question the status quo, and stay inspired to raise our voices in the fight for every heart.

Mary McGowan, CEO

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