Mellanie discusses why she works to educate women about atrial fibrillation.
Raising awareness for atrial fibrillation has become my passion because one of the ways that we can wipe out A-fibrillated strokes is to let people know about A-fib and that it’s a problem. So there have been a number of things. One of the very first that I tackled was, that I felt like we needed a month for atrial fibrillation. We have heart month, we have stroke month, we have breast cancer awareness month, we have so many months for other things. We needed an atrial fibrillation month.
So as I started thinking of it, you know September is the perfect month. Stress often goes along with atrial fibrillation and September is kind of a stressful month – back to school, football games, starting to think about the stress of the holidays – stressful month. So I said, you know, that needs to be our awareness month. So we declared September as atrial fibrillation awareness month and got it registered in the official register and then started promoting it, publicizing it, getting word out to the media, doing stories about it, doing interviews about it – anything we could do to get the word out.
It was only after the fact that I realized wait a minute, September is when I had mini-maze surgery, that’s when I got my life back. September is the perfect month for it but I really wasn’t even thinking of it at the time.
It’s important that we get the word out in every way possible. So we’ve celebrated A-fib month for the last couple of years but there are so many more things that we could do. So we have kind of put together a coalition of organizations who have an interest around A-fib. It’s been introduced in the House of Representatives and we have one being introduced in the Senate any day now.
Every time I am in Washington DC, I am up there on Capitol Hill drumming up support among representatives and senators, sharing with them my story and the story of others who have atrial fibrillation so that we can get an official A-fib month designated by Congress.
We are also approaching it from a lot of other ways. We have, over the past year, put together a coalition focused on raising A-fib awareness through the media, through medical organizations and through a number of ways. We started with just a very few organizations and it has grown to 24 organizations, and so we kicked off this A-fib awareness initiative back in May of this year and we will be doing lots of media about A-fib in order to raise awareness.
We have doctors, we have nursing organizations, we have patient advocacy organizations, we have caregiver organizations, many organizations involved in this initiative. Also, looking at working with organizations in other countries as well to raise awareness of A-fib, many-many ways that we will be approaching this. We have to raise awareness around the globe. It’s an international condition. It’s not just US. So we have a number of initiatives that are in the very early stages, kind of in the, kind of on the drawing board at this point but we want to raise awareness all around the globe.
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