2017 Class of Heart Disease and Stroke Survivors Announced for World Heart Day

American Heart Association Launches Annual Go Red For Women® Campaign with Real Women Announcement

September 27, 2017 Categories: Program News

DALLAS – September 27, 2017 — Each year on September 29, World Heart Day encourages people to be heart healthy with the world’s biggest platform for raising awareness about cardiovascular disease (CVD). In observance of the day this year, the American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, is honoring 11 women who are sharing their stories to inspire others as part of the 2017 Go Red For Women class of Real Women. The Real Women serve as national spokespersons for the movement in the coming year.

Founded in 2000, World Heart Day is an initiative of the World Heart Federation, a global advocacy and leadership organization bringing together the CVD community to help people lead heart-healthy lives, and includes the participation of public health advocates worldwide and features thousands of activities and events around the world to inspire people to live longer, better, more heart healthy lives. The campaign emphasizes that small changes can make a powerful difference, and encourages people to fuel their heart with a healthy diet, love their heart by not smoking, move their heart by staying active, and know their numbers (blood sugar, blood pressure, total and HDL cholesterol, and body mass index) to manage their risk.

Go Red for Women Real Women group photo
Left to right: Claudia Lara, Jen Hyde, Theresa “TC” Eckstein, Sara Parcell, Elizabeth Beard, Lilly Rocha, Beverly Buchanan, Heidi Stewart, Tara Robinson, Stephanie Lang, Tamika Quinncopyright American Heart Association


The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women Real Women represent a sisterhood of survivors who actively, urgently, and passionately participate in the movement to raise awareness of the issues connecting women and heart diseases and stroke. As the often-surprising faces of heart disease, they are sharing their powerful stories to inspire others through the changes they’ve made to improve their own health. Stories from the 2017-2018 class include:

Beverly Buchanan
Beverly Buchanan

Beverly Buchanan complained of vague symptoms for months without resolution. With an overseas trip planned and symptoms worsening, the nurse at Dorn Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center pushed harder for answers and learned she would need open-heart bypass surgery. “As a nurse and a survivor, I encourage you to know your numbers,” Buchanan said. She now shares her story in her classes to encourage her colleagues and patients to know their numbers, take symptoms seriously and trust their medical providers.



Tamika Quinn
Tamika Quinn

Like many people in her family, Tamika Quinn struggled with her weight throughout her life, and was diagnosed with high blood pressure while pregnant with her youngest daughter. Ten days after giving birth, she had two strokes and began taking her health more seriously to ensure that a family history of heart disease doesn’t become a family legacy. She joined a hospital-based nutrition program to overhaul the family’s eating habits and put a priority on exercise.



Heidi Stewart
Heidi Stewart

An undiagnosed inherited congenital heart condition caused student athlete Heidi Stewart to have a sudden cardiac arrest at 18. She survived thanks to immediate CPR by school staff and an AED donated by a family whose son wasn’t as lucky. A lifelong athlete, Heidi has had to significantly reduce her physical exertion to avoid triggering an abnormal rhythm. Now, at age 22, Heidi has become a stronger advocate for her health, paying close attention to the risks that she can control through diet and lifestyle.

Each woman selected for Go Red For Women’s Real Women class has a unique, personal story about their heart or brain health journey. They have worked hard to transform their health and well-being, serving as an inspiration for family, friends, and others who hear their stories. All 11 full stories can be found here.

Cardiovascular diseases kill about one woman every 80 seconds and about 80% of cardiovascular diseases may be preventable. The American Heart Association, the Go Red Real Women, and the World Heart Federation know that small lifestyle changes can make a powerful difference to our heart health. By sharing knowledge, we can inspire each other to become more heart healthy.

Go Red for Women Real Women group photo with confetti
Left to right: Claudia Lara, Jen Hyde, Theresa “TC” Eckstein, Sara Parcell, Elizabeth Beard, Lilly Rocha, Beverly Buchanan, Heidi Stewart, Tara Robinson, Stephanie Lang, Tamika Quinncopyright American Heart Association


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Go Red For Women

In the United States, cardiovascular diseases kill approximately 1 in 3 women each year. Go Red For Women is the American Heart Association's national movement to end heart disease and stroke in women. Cardiovascular diseases in the U.S. kill approximately one woman every 80 seconds. The good news is that 80 percent of cardiac events may be prevented with education and lifestyle changes. Go Red For Women advocates for more research and swifter action for women's heart health. The American Heart Association's Go Red For Women movement is nationally sponsored by Macy's and CVS Health, with additional support from our cause supporters. For more information, please visit GoRedForWomen.org or call 1-888-MY-HEART (1-888-694-3278).

For Media Inquiries: (214) 706-1173

Tracie Bertaut, Tracie.Bertaut@heart.org, (504) 722-1695

Bridget O’Leary, Bridget.Oleary@heart.org, (214) 706-1152

For Public Inquiries: (800) AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org