Hi, my name is Dyann Lyon. I am a Go Red Ambassador and this is my story.
The Go Red Ambassador program in my area, which I am extremely grateful for as it gives me a place to serve in honor of my late husband, Lee Oberbeck, started late last year. In the fall of 2001, Lee and I were on a two-month visit to Hawaii when he died suddenly of a heart attack. He and I had had a wonderful relationship for twenty years. All of our plans and goals ended abruptly. My life changed instantly. In my grief, I also had to manage the logistics of transporting Lee's body back across the Pacific Ocean for the last time. That was traumatic. As you can imagine, the months following his death were brutal. My life has completely changed since then. Instead of being a workaholic Realtor, I am now a speaker and an advocate for good health.
Do you know that heart disease is largely preventable? Since January 2010 our Tacoma, Washington group of Go Red Ambassadors have talked to over 2000 people in the greater Tacoma area. We have the intention of saving lives and we believe we have an impact of increasing awareness to the warning signs of heart disease and how to prevent one in the first place by choosing to live a heart healthy life.
Several months after Lee died, I happened to hear an American Heart Association presentation. I learned about the warning signs of heart disease. That's when I realized that Lee had been exhibiting these symptoms days and maybe even weeks before he died. Had I known then what I now know, he may be alive today.
A few years later, I had this idea to go into realtor's offices to share the warning signs of heart disease. I called my local American Heart Association chapter for more information and for some materials. The woman I spoke with said that I was describing a program that already existed, but that we never had a chapter in my area!
Today I am just one of many Go Red Ambassadors, drawn together from many walks of life because each of us is personally affected by heart disease. What do we do as Go Red Ambassadors? We give presentations to different organizations and businesses in the South Sound region. Our presentation consists of a short power point where we share the warning signs of heart disease, show what a heart attack is, share the risk factors and show what you can do to take actions to prevent heart disease. After that we share our personal stories. Each one of us has a very different story to share. I became a widow in an instant when Lee died suddenly of a heart attack, Victoria is a heart transplant recipient, Tina is a heart attack survivor, Carol is a sudden cardiac arrest survivor, Lori is a stroke survivor and we have many more brave and courageous women who share their stories in the hopes of saving lives.
Most of us, including me, are not professional speakers. Yet we passionately believe that our messages and stories are an important aspect of helping others learn about the warning signs and impact of heart disease. Here is a video of one of my Go Red presentations. Several of us spoke at the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency in Olympia,Washington on April 13, 2010.
This Spring, during the 8th annual Go Red Luncheon, I was surprised by an unexpected presentation. I was honored as the first, Go Red Ambassador of the Year. The words, Founding Go Red Ambassador, are inscribed on the beautiful Tiffany bowl I was given. It was an amazing and humbling honor to receive this award for doing something that I am so passionate about. I am grateful for the honor, the acknowledgment and for the pleasure I receive from being with and working with the many amazing women I am so honored to serve with.
Please support any Go Red movement in your own community or start a Go Red program of your own. Be brave. Be bold. The life you help to save may be that of a loved one or someone you never meet. We never know who we will impact by sharing these stories of survival.
Told by Jill Trotta Calloway