Champion Spotlight: Someone to Lean On

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting a WomenHeart Champion who is an integral part of our SisterMatch program. SisterMatch helps women connect one-on-one with a WomenHeart Champion volunteer who can provide needed support over the phone, in person, or via email.

Heart Month may be drawing to a close, but the powerful stories of heart disease survivors will continue to be told, and continue to serve as an inspiration to other women.

This month we’re highlighting South East District Support Leader Andee Weiner, a woman who not only inspires, but is someone other women can lean on for support. “A WomenHeart Champion is part of a sisterhood, says Weiner. “I’m happy to be someone she can turn to for support and understanding.”

Andee serves as a Big Sister as part of WomenHeart’s SisterMatch program and provides one-on-one support to women living with heart disease who may be experiencing feelings of isolation or depression. She knows the significance of support and awareness coming from a family that has a history of heart disease—her father died from a heart attack at the age of 52—and even suffered her own heart attack back in 2006.

From this experience Andee was motivated to help other women. “I knew I had to pay it forward to make sure women had support and someone to speak to. I encourage women to seek proper care, a correct diagnosis, and how to be their own best advocate.”

She found WomenHeart in 2008 with the help of South East District Community Leader Ann de Velasco, and later joined the 2008 Class of WomenHeart Champions. “I was going to cardiac rehab with my husband to support him, when his nurse [Ann de Velasco] approached me with a Red Bag of Courage,” added Weiner. “I thought it was odd, but said ‘thanks’ and began to read the literature. Six months later I attended my first support meeting and the rest is history. Annie’s support and encouragement led me to attend Mayo, and eventually become the South East District Leader.”

Andee is proud to have made a positive impact on so many women and has been very active this Heart Month with the hosting of several support group activities, including a booth at Baptist Hospital in which she helped distribute 150 Red Bags of Courage. Today, she feels empowered not just by her mission to raise heart health awareness, but as a grandmother, having welcomed her granddaughter, Madilyn Rose, to the world on Feb. 22.

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