Today FM radio presenter Ed Smith at the launch
The Irish Heart Foundation has launched its Go Red for Women campaign, in support of women in Leitrim and across Ireland – one-quarter of whom will die from cardiovascular disease. The campaign was launched by two women who live with heart conditions and are ambassadors for the campaign – Karen Ward from Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, and Lizzy Honan from Dublin – and Today FM radio presenter Ed Smith, who suffered a heart attack last year.
Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death in Ireland; women are almost six times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than breast cancer. However, 80% of premature death from cardiovascular disease is preventable. By Going Red for Women, you can support the Irish Heart Foundation’s work in communities across Ireland, raising awareness of and helping to prevent deaths from cardiovascular disease.
Lizzy Honan from Dublin was diagnosed with peripartum cardiomyopathy, a very rare form of heart failure, shortly after giving birth to twins in 2016. Speaking at the launch, she said: “I was told at the time of my diagnosis not to have any more children. I was also told you might get better or you might not, you might need a heart transplant, you might get to a certain level and not get any better or you might continue to recover. That was a lot to get your head around particularly as a brand-new mum to twins.”
Karen Ward from Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan had open-heart surgery last November because of a congenital heart condition. She spoke at the launch about her experience of living with a visible scar: “It is very visible; I don’t hide it. I have had a few funny comments about it. I overheard someone say I had to wear a necklace to cover it and one man told me “You are a good-looking girl it shouldn’t take away from you”. For me it is important to show it off, it doesn’t bother me one little bit. In fact, I am very proud of my scar. It is because of my scar that I am still here.”
Speaking at the launch, Judith Gilsenan, Commercial Director, Irish Heart Foundation said: “Our Go Red for Women campaign is championed by five women from around Ireland, each of whom has been affected by cardiovascular disease: from heart attack to open-heart surgery and from heart failure to Long QT syndrome. Through their stories and support from the public, we can continue to empower women to live longer, healthier lives.
“This February we are calling on the people of Leitrim to show their support for the women they love by Going Red for Women. There are lots of ways to get involved – hold a walk in your local community or a coffee morning at home or work, or try your hand at volunteering at our national bag pack collection.”
Each year, almost 9,000 people in Ireland die from heart disease and stroke, leaving behind devastated families and communities. Support the Go Red for Women campaign today by organising a red event in February, volunteering on February 14th or donating to the Irish Heart Foundation. For more information and to sign up, visit www.GoRed.ie.