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Springfield Woman's Survival Story Shines on 10th Anniversary of 'Go Red'

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- You may have noticed many women dressed in red Thursday. It was for the American Heart Association's annual Go Red for Women luncheon.
It's teaching all of us that we need to be there for everyone and help everyone with everything we can.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- You may have noticed many women dressed in red Thursday. It was for the American Heart Association's annual Go Red for Women luncheon, which marked the 10th anniversary of the Go Red for Women movement.
 
According to the American Heart Association, common signs of heart disease are chest pain and shortness of breath.

Survivors like Amy Moran say it's important to get a check-up if you notice these symptoms.

Looking at Amy, you wouldn't think she battles a life-threatening disease.

"I'm feeling really good. Really good right now!"

She's among the 82.6 million heart disease and stroke survivors.

"Heart disease is the number one killer in men and women," she says. "A lot of times we focus on other killers and we don't realize that heart disease is so significant."

Amy is much more than a survivor -- she's a counselor at Kickapoo High School. "I love my students. I love my job." She's a mentor and close friend to many students, like Lindsey Shipley. 

"Over the past couple of years I've grown very close to her and just finding out about the surgery and all that stuff and just seeing her go through everything has been very hard," says Shipley.

Amy says most don't even realize they have heart disease.

"When I was 21 I found out. I was a junior at Mizzou. It changed my life." She has had six heart surgeries. "It's just kind of a constant battle with trying to stay healthy and stay well."

Her husband and two sons have been there to help her through the struggle.

"After my second son...I started having a lot of issues where I needed more surgeries and specifically open heart surgery."

Her situation improved temporarily, but soon conditions worsened.

"I started not even being able to walk to my car without getting short of breath."

She had a second open heart surgery earlier this year.

"When you have that kind of surgery, you just feel like you're not going to survive it. It's absolutely terrible."

Even in terrible situations, there is hope. Amy's students and co-workers at Kickapoo High School raised more than $15,000 for the American Heart Association.

"Through it they've been such a great support system for me and have helped me get through all of the difficult times. It's teaching all of us that we need to be there for everyone and help everyone with everything we can."

Amy is passionate about sharing her message. It may one day save her 7-year-old son's life too. He also has the gene.

"For me as a mother, it's so important that people donate to the America Heart Association because it might be him, you know, that needs it."

VIDEO: Watch Jenny and Jeremy Mhire's Story of Survival

Only one in five American women believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat.  This unfortunate reality has a lot to do with why the statistics on women and heart disease are so unsettling: 
  • One out of three women dies from heart disease.
  • Nearly 460,000 women every year die from heart disease, this is about one woman per minute
  • Every year since 1984 more women than men have died of cardiovascular diseases.
  • 43 million American women are currently living with Cardiovascular disease
  • Cardiovascular disease kills more women than the next 4 leading causes of death including all cancers

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