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When Heart Disease Hits Home: Why the American Heart Walk Matters at IBX

By October 27, 2017August 23rd, 2021Community

Let’s take a look at the numbers. In America, more than 600,000 people die of heart disease each year — that’s one in four deaths.1 Sadly, even though heart disease is the number one killer in the world, many people don’t know what to watch for, and how to avoid risks, when it comes to heart disease. That’s why it can come as such a shock when heart disease hits home.

Hidden Heart Disease

Heart disease looks different in women than in men. In fact, risks and symptoms can vary by sex. For example, smoking is a greater risk factor for women than for men. And, women with diabetes have a higher risk of heart disease than men with diabetes.2

The American Heart Association is committed to getting out the word about heart disease and the upcoming Philadelphia Heart Walk, which Independence Blue Cross sponsors, will raise funds that will help spread information and support research that can save lives.

A Daughter’s Tribute

The specter of heart disease hit home for IBX associate Tami Webb. “My mom passed away in May from congestive heart failure after battling the disease for a year,” she explains. While she had already been planning to walk in the Philadelphia Heart Walk in honor of her mom, an opportunity to get involved through IBX made it all the more special.

As a fundraiser, IBX associates were invited to take a stab at designing Team Independence’s T-shirt for the Philadelphia American Heart Walk. Their colleagues then donated $.25 to vote for their favorite design. This year, when Team Independence sets out, all the walkers will be wearing Tami’s winning design. It’s a fitting tribute to her mother’s memory. “My mom was a very creative lady, so I guess that’s where I got it from!”

Hope for the Future

Before Tami’s mother was diagnosed with congestive heart failure last November, she had no idea her mother was even sick. She wasn’t aware of any family history of heart disease, nor did she know what to watch out for. “I think it’s important that we become more aware of heart disease, get checked, and pay closer attention to possible symptoms.”

This is exactly the message IBX wanted to send by sponsoring the Philadelphia Heart Walk. Heart attacks, especially in women, aren’t always recognized. Symptoms can masquerade as fatigue or digestive issues like food poisoning, with nausea and dizziness. For this reason, many women delay getting emergency medical care until they’ve already suffered heart damage.2

By getting the word out, we can help ensure women recognize the unique risks and symptoms of heart disease and get the medical attention they need without delay. It’s a message that Tami, who will be walking with her daughters, granddaughter, and even a newborn grandson, can get behind. Walking together, she said, “is an opportunity for us to make a difference for generations to come.”

Join Team Independence and spread the word

Feeling inspired? Be a part of Team Independence and walk in the Philadelphia Heart Walk…you can even bring your dog along! Or, you can donate to the cause. Join or support Team Independence.

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heart disease facts. Accessed 10/18/17.
2Mayo Clinic. Heart disease in women: Understand the symptoms and risk factors. Accessed 10/18/17.


Jill Ashley Blair Ivey

Jillian Ashley Blair Ivey is a Philadelphia-based writer, editor, and communications strategist. She has a BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania, an MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey at Camden, and has published under her own byline at publications including DAME Magazine and The Frisky. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.