National Wear Red Day raises awareness for heart disease

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Feb. 2 is National Wear Red Day — an effort by the American Heart Association to raise awareness of the ongoing battle against cardiovascular disease.

It’s the leading cause of death for women, and currently, 45% of women over the age of 20 are living with some form of cardiovascular disease.

  • NBC4 staff wears red to raise awareness for heart disease on National Wear Red Day.
    NBC4 staff wears red to raise awareness for heart disease on National Wear Red Day.
  • NBC4 staff wears red to raise awareness for heart disease on National Wear Red Day.
    NBC4 staff wears red to raise awareness for heart disease on National Wear Red Day.
  • NBC4 staff wears red to raise awareness for heart disease on National Wear Red Day.
    NBC4 staff wears red to raise awareness for heart disease on National Wear Red Day.
  • NBC4 staff wears red to raise awareness for heart disease on National Wear Red Day.
    NBC4 staff wears red to raise awareness for heart disease on National Wear Red Day.
  • NBC4 staff wears red to raise awareness for heart disease on National Wear Red Day.
    NBC4 staff wears red to raise awareness for heart disease on National Wear Red Day.
  • NBC4 staff wears red to raise awareness for heart disease on National Wear Red Day.
    NBC4 staff wears red to raise awareness for heart disease on National Wear Red Day.

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Marian Dancy is raising awareness for cardiovascular disease after her own health battle. In 2019, the Columbus woman was 35 years old when she delivered a baby girl. Six months later, Dancy began to experience swelling, fatigue and muscle weakness.

“But I kept going on,” said Dancy. “I had a busy life, career, kids, a young baby. And I just kept going and going, but the symptoms became worse. One day, I got off the elevator at work, and I lost my vision for just a moment, and I knew that I had to make an appointment to see the doctor.”

But Dancy said because she was young and nothing appeared in her family health history, she was only told to “keep an eye” on her symptoms.

“So, I left that appointment. I kept an eye on it, and it got worse,” Dancy said.

Dancy made another appointment with another doctor, but was told the same thing, as her symptoms only worsened.

“I was experiencing congestion. It was hard to breathe,” Dancy said. She took herself to the emergency department, but was misdiagnosed with pneumonia. “I started the treatment for that, and my health went from bad to worse. After that, it just became way more severe.”

Dancy sought help one more time, from a fourth doctor, and after a series of tests, finally got an answer.

“The doctor approached me and said, ‘I think I’m seeing a case of heart failure,'” Dancy said, adding that her reaction to the diagnosis was a mix of relief and fear.

“I was afraid for my children, for my family, for myself,” said Dancy. “But we did start a treatment plan, and obviously I’m here doing much better now. The unfortunate part is that I did have to go to so many physicians. But it empowered me, like, I know that I’m not feeling okay, and I will find the person that will listen to me. Right? I’m thankful that I didn’t give up because I may not be sitting here today.”

At the point of her diagnosis, Dancy’s heart was functioning at less than 20%.

She began volunteering with the American Heart Association to passionately champion the Go Red for Women movement, and with what she’s learned, she was actually able to recognize during a phone call with her mom in late January, that her mom was having a stroke. She sent help her mom’s way, and she is now recovering and doing well.

For all of her efforts, Dancy was also selected to be a member of this year’s class of Real Women of Go Red.

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