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The Impact of the SisterMatch Program
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by Jennifer Donelan, Crime Beat Reporter, WJLA TV, Washington, DC


In the weeks that followed my heart attack, I was surrounded by friends, family, co-workers, and a strong health care team, but I still felt inexplicably alone and afraid, until I connected with WomenHeart Champion volunteer and heart attack survivor Carrie thanks to WomenHeart’s SisterMatch program.


Ever since my heart attack, I have shared my story with thousands of women through speaking engagements and media opportunities. I have also had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with many women heart disease survivors. Women heart patients often tell me that they, too, experienced anxiety, social isolation, and depression after their heart attack or heart disease diagnosis.


I always tell these women to visit to begin the process of being matched with a WomenHeart Champion who can provide them with emotional and psychosocial support. I tell them about my experience with SisterMatch — how my phone conversation with my SisterMatch Carrie allowed me to start healing emotionally and readjust to everyday life.


If you are a woman living with heart disease, I strongly encourage you to visit and to complete the SisterMatch questionnaire to be matched with a WomenHeart Champion who best fits the responses you provide. Through this peer connection, you will learn, like I did with Carrie, to deal with new thoughts and new feelings that you did not have prior to your heart attack or heart disease diagnosis. Like me I am certain that you will start feeling a new sense of hope, well-being and healing.


In the weeks after my heart attack, I was convinced I would never be able to go back to a normal life. But my phone call with my SisterMatch Carrie changed all of that. Today I am back at work investigating and reporting crime at WJLA-TV, and enjoying every minute of life. I am forever grateful to WomenHeart’s SisterMatch program for connecting me with Carrie.


I hope that you will visit SisterMatch and complete the questionnaire, so that you too can start to live well and thrive despite living with heart disease!

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WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) patient advocacy organization with thousands of members nationwide, including women heart patients and their families, health care providers, advocates and consumers committed to helping women live longer, healthier lives. WomenHeart supports, educates and advocates on behalf of the nearly 48 million American women living with or at risk of heart disease. Our programs are made possible by donations, grants and corporate partnerships.

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WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease is a founding partner of The Heart Truth Red Dress campaign. The Heart Truth and Red Dress are trademarks of HHS.