You’re going to see a lot of red today–red shirts, red snacks, red selfies. Maybe you’ll get in on the trends. Maybe you’ll buy that now-discounted red dress from Macy’s; maybe you’ll bake red velvet cupcakes for your AP Bio study group; maybe you’ll donate ten bucks to a red campaign; maybe you’ll smear red lipstick under your eyes and snap a photo with your #BFFs. That’s fantastic, but please remember why you’re doing this; please realize there’s a reason for all this red.
We go red for women. We go red for those past, present, and future, for those who have died of heart disease, for those who live with it, and for those who will someday be diagnosed. We go red for the 17.5 million individuals who die of heart disease every year and for the 85.6 million Americans currently battling a cardiovascular condition. We go red for the 33 million people annually affected by stroke and for 3 million who have suffered heart attacks in 2016. We go red for the 70 million people living with congenital heart defects and for the 12% lucky enough to survive cardiac arrests. We go red for children, for men, and for women. We go red for caregivers, for practitioners, and for survivors. We go red for loved ones, for strangers, and for ourselves. We go red for heart disease, and we go red for the people affected by it.
So wear your red and wear it proudly, but please, please know that there is more to heart disease than a certain color t-shirt. Wearing red is a nice gesture, but ultimately, it does nothing to fight this life-threatening, life-altering cluster of conditions. You can and should do more. Volunteer at your local hospital, learn CPR, fund lifesaving research, and most importantly, GET HEART CHECKED! Do your part, and together we can beat heart disease.