MURFREESBORO — The normally True Blue MTSU campus added a dash of red to the color scheme Friday, Feb. 5, to celebrate National Wear Red Day.
The campus community gathered in the Liz and Creighton Rhea Atrium in the Science Building for Health Services and Health Promotion festivities to raise awareness for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign.
And it was OK to wear red.
Those who attended learned more about the risks and symptoms of heart disease in women. They also participated in games and activities, with an opportunity to win prizes.
Heart disease affects millions of Americans each year. Heart disease and stroke kill one in three women, but it is nearly 80 percent preventable.
Many on campus have been affected. One example is Diane Turnham, associate athletic director and senior women’s administrator.
Turnham was appointed acting athletic director March 1, 2004, when then-AD Boots Donnelly underwent heart surgery. She became interim AD in January 2005, and began working long hours and experiencing a great deal of pressure.
Anxiety, feeling uncomfortable while walking short distances and having a family history of heart disease led Turnham to share this with her doctor. The problems persisted. She felt tightness in her chest.
Two minutes into a nuclear stress test, her physician removed her from the machine and asked her to visit a heart specialist the next day.
“I was admitted to the hospital for an arteriogram,” she said. “They found three blockages in my heart and explained that I would need to go to Nashville for the procedure that would insert three stints into my heart. I went through the process and started rehabilitation to strengthen my heart. That was 10 years ago and I am doing great, but visit my doctor every six months to monitor my condition.”
Turnham told the crowd it was “a great day to wear red. Dr. (Sidney A.) McPhee will give us permission, especially since the two big (basketball) wins against Western Kentucky last weekend.”
“You know your body better than anybody else,” she added. “You always need to take it serious. Most women don’t survive their first heart attack because they don’t follow the signs. Exercise is great. And you need to see your doctor.”
For anyone unable to attend the event, Lisa Schrader, director of Health Promotion, said they can still GO RED:
• Get your numbers: Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose;
• Own your lifestyle: Stop smoking, lose weight, be physically active and eat healthy;
• Raise your voice: Advocate for more women-related research and education;
• Educate your family: Make healthy food choices for you and your family. Teach your children the importance of staying active; and
• Donate: Show your support with a donation of time or money.
To learn more about the national movement, visit http://www.goredforwomen.org/wearredday/.