"Go Red" Survivor Gallery: Local Women Share Stories of Their Journey to Heart Health
The American Heart Association's "Go Red" campaign aims to raise awareness about women and heart disease.
As the local "Go Red" sponsor, Lowell General Hospital invited several cardiac patients to share their experiences. These six local women hope to encourage others to understand their risk of heart disease and take the necessary steps toward heart health.
Linda Colburn, Dracut
"I've always considered myself a high-energy, active and healthy person, so when I had recurring heartburn, I never considered it was symptomatic of heart problems. Heart attack warning signs for a woman are not the same as for a man - they can be more subtle"
Samoeun Hun, Lowell
"For about a month, I had noticed a throbbing, cramp-like pain in my chest that would last a couple of minutes, coming and going throughout the day. One night it was worse than usual; a severe, tightening pain. I was having a heart attack, and needed angioplasty and a stent to open a blocked artery. In addition to taking medication, I learned that some simple changes in my diet and taking longer walks for exercise could keep me healthy."
Margo Martel, Lowell
“The younger you are, the less you think that this could happen to you.” Margo Martel had a heart attack at age 42.
“I woke up at 3:00 a.m. with a burning pain in my chest,” the Lowell resident recalls. “It felt like I was running in the cold. I knew the symptoms of a heart attack but couldn’t believe they were happening as chest pain grew to jaw pain and stiffness down my arm. The whole time I was thinking, ‘No! This can’t be happening to me.”
Margo had a stent placed in her coronary artery to improve the blood flow to her heart. In addition to taking part in 36 sessions of cardiac rehabilitation, she’s also made some healthy lifestyle changes - quitting smoking, exercising and eating better.
Margaret Perras, Dunstable
"I have never smoked. I eat well and start each day with a five mile run before work. I did not experience typical signs of a heart attack, but knew something was not right. A 95% blockage of the main artery in my heart was discovered and I underwent triple bypass."
Lorraine Primeau, Lowell
"I exercise, and generally live a healthy life, so I never imagined a pressure in my chest was heart-related. Tests revealed I had several blocked arteries and needed angioplasty and stents to repair them."
Madeline Stone, Billerica
For nearly ten years, Billerica resident Madeline Stone experienced tightness in her chest and pain in her left arm during walks with her husband. With a family history of coronary artery disease, she saw cardiologists and had several stress tests, but everything always came out fine. However after surviving cancer, she underwent an emergency cardiac catheterization at Lowell General.
After completing cardiac rehabilitation, Madeline is feeling much better. “Medicine keeps my heart disease under control,” she notes. “With the help of my husband, I make sure to take time to relax and relieve my stress, eat well and of course we still walk together.”
Gloria Wilkins, Billerica
Gloria is an 86-year-old heart attack survivor and cardiac rehab patient at Lowell General. Listen to her story in this American Heart Association video.