Kelowna woman who suffered stroke encourages people to wear red on Feb. 13 in support of women's heart health

Wear red on February 13

Okanagan residents are encouraged to wear red on Feb. 13 to recognize women’s heart health during Wear Red Canada.

Heart disease in women remains the number one killer across the world as one-in-three women die as a result of heart disease or stroke, however women still go under-diagnosed, under-studied and and under-treated.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 campaign has gone completely virtual this year and British Columbians are encouraged to take photos donning their red clothes and share them on social media using the hashtags #WearRedCanada and #HerHeartMatters.

The Canadian Women’s Heart Health Alliance (CWHHA) consisting of clinicians, scientists, health care providers and women who have experienced heart disease runs Wear Red Canada.

CWHHA is based out of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) and is powered by the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre (CWHHC).

“When it comes to improving the cardiovascular health of Canadian women, awareness is key,” said Dr. Thais Coutinho, a cardiologist and division head of Cardiac Prevention and Rehabilitation at the UOHI, and chair of the CWHHC. “By wearing red on Feb. 13, you are taking part in a movement to engage communities in a meaningful conversation about women’s heart health from coast to coast to coast.”

Kelowna’s Jennifer Monaghan suffered a stroke at the age of 43 before finding out her heart was unable to pump enough blood and oxygen throughout her body. She didn’t smoke cigarettes or have high blood pressure and she did not experience any other traditional risk factors.

“Having a stroke and having to deal with heart disease was unexpected and terrible to go through, but today I do everything I can to win against my heart disease. I have had to learn a lot about my health, my heart, my medications and where to turn to for support. I will be wearing red on Feb. 13 to show my support for raising awareness of women’s heart health and hope you will too,” she says.

British Columbians are encouraged to wear red and join the free online panel on Feb. 13, from 9 to 10:30 a.m. The discussion will feature three heart and stroke researchers in women’s health as well as women who’ve experienced heart disease and stroke.

Wear Red Canada Day is Feb. 13 across the country. Look out for landmarks being lit up in red to celebrate.

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