A powerful message for National Heart Month
from Lisa Peyton-Caire, Founding CEO & President of The Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness
Greetings Ashro Community & Happy Heart Month!
I am so excited to share my very first blog post with you as The Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness and Ashro join forces to empower you in your health and wellness! Our partnership launches at a perfect time as we observe American Heart Month, and as we remind you of the urgency to prioritize your heart health.
My work as a passionate advocate for Black Women’s health began 15 years ago after my mother, Roberta Peyton, died at the young age of 64 of congestive heart failure. She was the glue and the center of our family, and her death was a devastating and unexpected loss. We continue to feel the depth of her absence in our family, and the grief of watching her grandchildren grow up without her loving presence.
In the weeks and months following Mom’s death, it struck me just how many of us were losing our mothers, sisters, aunts and friends prematurely, in the prime of their lives — and from preventable causes like heart attack, stroke, and diabetes complications. The casualties are real and many.
Too Many Tragedies
In fact, in the difficult days following my Mom’s funeral, I sat at my desk one afternoon and began to write the names of all of the women whose funerals I had attended over the years of growing up in Mom’s hair salon. With each name I wrote–Doris, Hazel, Gloria, Thelma, and even my three paternal aunts Lois, Marguerite and Barbara–my spirit was struck by the enormity of these tragedies.
These beautiful, vibrant women and mothers were not elderly, but in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and maybe their 60’s when they succumbed to massive heart attacks and strokes. Coming face-to-face with this was the wake-up call that changed my life and work forever as I resolved to do my part to protect and preserve Black women’s lives, including my own.
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease kills nearly 50,000 Black women each year, and at far younger ages than other women.
Yet, only 1 in 5 of us believe that we are personally at risk, and only half of us are aware of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. In fact, nearly half of Black women age 20 and older have some form of heart disease. These statistics must change, and it starts with us.
The Good News
The good news is, we have the power to turn this around, to protect our hearts, and to save our own lives. Now is the time to take action! And as we continue to navigate a global COVID-19 pandemic, never has it been more important to prioritize and protect our health.
So, I’m challenging you today and throughout the month of February to take hold of your heart health like never before, and to take these seven immediate steps (Life’s Simple 7®) recommended by the American Heart Association to lower your risk of heart disease:
- Manage your blood pressure
- Control your cholesterol
- Reduce your blood sugar
- Get active
- Eat better
- Manage your weight
- Stop Smoking
If you’re not sure how to get started, call your doctor or healthcare provider to start a conversation, and take advantage of the wealth of information and resources available online and at your local library to help you begin.
We Owe It To Those We Love
I started the Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness because I believe we can and must build a new legacy of longevity and well-being for all Black women. We owe it to ourselves and the people we love to do everything in our power to live our healthiest lives. I am reminded of how important this is every day when I enter my office and look up at the framed portrait of my mother that hangs on my wall. Her life and death taught me the most valuable lesson of all — that our health is our greatest wealth, and we have only one precious life to live.
Let’s begin the journey together to protect our most precious possession — us.
Take Control of Your Health
Also consider joining the Foundation’s FREE Project Live Well program as one way to jumpstart your physical activity and healthier habits; and join us on Saturday, February 20th for our 10th Annual Wear Red Day heart disease prevention event. You’ll leave with the information, inspiration and empowerment you need to take control of your health today.
We can do it!
Mark your calendars and join the Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness for our 10th Annual VIRTUAL National Wear Red Day Event & Celebration on Saturday, February 20th, 2021, 10:00am -12:00pm! Get the details >
The Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness announced its partnership with national fashion brand Ashro to empower Black women to prioritize and transform their health. The partnership is an extension of the Foundation’s commitment to ‘Empower a Generation of Well Black Women’, and Ashro’s commitment to invest in the well-being of their customer base of predominantly Black women.
One Such Outstanding Woman is Lisa Peyton-Caire, Founder & CEO of The Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness. Lisa joined us for Season Two of Onward & Upward with Leslie E. Royal, brought to you by Ashro.
Watch S2:E1: Prioritizing Your Health and Wellbeing with Lisa, live on 2/2/21.