Red was a popular color on Jan. 26, during the business session of the Johnson County Board of Commissioners.
Members of the seven-member Board wore red ties. County managers, department directors, and staff also donned red attire – ties, shirts, and jackets.
The wardrobe of the day was in celebration of the issuance of a proclamation by the Board designating February as Heart Health Month. The designation was important to Kelly Hayden, who is a cancer survivor and the wife of Commissioner Calvin Hayden.
“I really like all the red. Awesome,” she said in brief comments as one of three speakers when accepting the proclamation.
She is a survivor of an extremely rare heart disease called Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection, or SCAD. Kelly Hayden suffered her first heart attack in early 2009 at age 49 followed by a second heart attack two years later (May 2011). Prior to that, she was a picture of health and far from the traditional image of a woman at risk of heart disease.
Other speakers included Eldonna Chesnut from the Johnson County Health Department and Cathy Porter, Overland Park Support Network coordinator, for WomenHeart, a national coalition for women with heart disease. Porter and approximately a dozen women in the audience praised the Board for its efforts to create public awareness about heart disease and its toll on women. All of the women wore red.
“Look at us,” Porter said as the seated women rose and joined the presentation at the podium. “We are all survivors.” She added that the special guests represented a wide range of heart disease, ranging from heart attacks to heart transplants.
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer of women. For every woman who dies from breast cancer, five will die from heart disease. In the United States alone, 41 million women are living with or are at risk for heart disease. Yet, early detection, treatment, and awareness of heart disease are evening those odds. More and more women are becoming heart disease survivors, like Kelly Hayden and the other guests.