For Kellie Norton, heart health is a family matter.
“Heart health is a cause that’s important to me on a personal level as I have a lot of people in my life who have some sort of heart condition,” she said.
After watching her grandmother, stepsister and brother-in-law deal with heart issues, Norton, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan director of West Michigan Upper Peninsula Administration, said her own health and that of her family have taken on a higher-level priority.
“When someone you care about suffers a heart attack, you never again undervalue the importance of making healthy decisions,” she said. “My husband and I are very conscious about what we eat, and we wear activity trackers and do our walking.”
She’s also been inspired to donate her time to the cause of greater heart health awareness and philanthropy in her own community. In 2021, Norton will chair the Go Red for Women Luncheon, underscoring her commitment to the West Michigan chapter of the American Heart Association.
“These luncheons are wonderful social events where women dedicated to making an impact in their community come together to raise awareness, educate and fundraise,” she said.
Norton said the AHA does important work at the local and national level to promote heart health awareness and help individuals adopt heart-healthy habits. She’s particularly proud of the work the organization does in getting the word out to women about heart disease and the differences in how symptoms might present in women versus men.
“It’s critical for women to know the possible signs and symptoms for themselves, and too few women do, which is why education on this issue is so important,” she said.
Norton encourages everyone to visit the AHA’s website to learn more about ways they can improve their heart health during American Heart Month and all year long.
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Photo credit (main image): Abdul Rahman