National Wear Red Day: One Woman’s Journey from Cardiac Arrest

By Carolina Boyd

Friday is National Wear Red Day at Legacy Community Health. It’s likely you will see many others wearing red today to support and raise awareness for women’s heart health.  For Legacy’s Revenue Cycle Management Director Devona Jackson, every day is a chance to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease. On May 31, 2018, a day she will never forget, Jackson suffered a heart attack, as well as went into cardiac arrest.

“I began having chest pain at home and was rushed to the emergency room where I had a seizure. My heart stopped three times as I went into cardiac arrest,” said Jackson. “My life changed in the blink of an eye.”

Jackson’s road to recovery was a long one. She woke up from life support with heart, kidney and respiratory failure and spent over a month in the hospital—requiring inpatient rehabilitation.

“I had to learn to walk again, I had to learn how to do the things I had always taken for granted, like getting dressed and showering,” said Jackson.

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease kills 1-in-3 women every year. Issues like heart attacks and strokes can affect any woman, regardless of age.  It’s estimated 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented. Some risk factors like age, race and family history can’t be controlled. Others like diabetes, a lack of regular physical activity or high blood pressure can be treated or managed.

On this National Wear Red Day and every day, Jackson works to share her story with other women so they can begin to make their own heart health a priority.

“Please pay attention to your body! If you feel like something isn’t right, go see your doctor. Get it checked out. Love yourself from the inside out, your heart and your family will thank you for it!”