|Mother and daughter modeling in St. Mary's 'Go Red' luncheon|
|Written by Mary Anne Carroll|
|Thursday, 23 February 2012|
Darlene and Maria Morocco are excited about the chance to model some fabulous clothes this Friday. But, the mother and daughter are more excited about having the chance to support a cause close to both of them.
Both Darlene and Maria work for St. Mary’s Health Care System, and in their jobs, they have seen first-hand the effects of heart disease. That is why both are happy to be a part of the Go Red for Women event, which will include a luncheon, a fashion show, and a speaker. The special day – sponsored by St. Mary’s, Macy’s, Athens Holiday Inn, and the American Heart Association – is meant to raise awareness for women’s cardiac health.
At St. Mary’s, Darlene is a cardiac nurse and Maria works in the marketing department. Both jobs have given the women a chance to work with and meet heart attack survivors.
“I have had the pleasure of interviewing survivors,” Maria said.
“I have been a cardiac nurse throughout my career,” Darlene said. “I have a passion for cardiac patients.”
The mother and daughter said the Go Red event features heart attack and stroke survivors as models. They both stressed that survivor is a key word, and that women can come back from catastrophic cardiac problems to lead healthy lives.
That is only one of the points Darlene wanted women to know about heart health. Her years in nursing have convinced her women need to pay close attention to family history.
“Family history has such an impact on a woman’s heart health,” Darlene said. “Stress, diet and exercise also have an impact, but women need to know their family history. And, if they do have a family history of heart problems, they need to have early screening.”
Darlene stressed, too, that women need to familiarize themselves with are the symptoms of a heart attack.
“You have to know the early warning signs,” Darlene said. “I have heard doctors say over and over that ‘Time is muscle,’ and it is true. If a woman knows the warning signs of a heart attack, and gets prompt medical attention, the chances are much greater that doctors can get the blood flow back quickly to the heart so that it is still high-functioning.”
Darlene and Maria are two of several Go Red for Women participants who live or work in Oconee County. Dr. Jana McKenzie, who specializes in internal medicine, will be the keynote speaker. Garnett Dress and Angela Willis live in Watkinsville, while Robin Loftin and Scott Norris are from Bishop. Dr. Patrick Willis, with Oconee Heart and Vascular Health, is another participant.
Sally Baker will be one of the models at the fashion show. Baker, who teaches at Oconee County High School, had a massive stroke in 2010. The stroke left her nearly-paralyzed on one side, but after extensive rehabilitation, she now has resumed her teaching career and a healthy, active life.
Maria said being able to see models like Baker is one of the best things about the Go Red luncheon.
“I think when people spend a day with survivors, they will be able to put faces with heart attacks and strokes,” she said. “I think people will be surprised by some of those faces, because heart attacks and strokes happen to women of all ages.”
Even though tickets are sold out to the Go Red luncheon, Maria and her mother said there are plenty of resources available to women who want to know more about keeping their hearts healthy. They both suggested visiting the websites for St. Mary’s Health Care System and the American Heart Association.
Mary Anne Carroll is a reporter for The Oconee Leader.
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