Women Who Inspire Us: Go Red's Real Women

11 women heart disease and stroke survivors in red dresses pose for camera

Each year, the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women campaign lifts up a group of women who share their personal stories of experiencing heart disease and stroke. 

This year's class of 11 women represent the different faces of heart disease and stroke in women. They help raise awareness of the unique impact heart disease has on women and share their stories to inspire others to make heart-healthy lifestyle changes. 

One inspiring story is Evelyn McMahon's. When she began experiencing the symptoms of a stroke, she had no idea what was happening. It wasn't until a day later that she was rushed to the hospital where she found out that delaying treatment could have ended her life.  

McMahon underwent weeks of therapy to recover the ability to walk and talk. She now knows the importance of seeking help at the first sign of a stroke, and is spreading the word. 

Another story that inspired us is Shea Bowen's. She experienced swollen limbs and gestational diabetes during her pregnancy. Then, a few hours after the birth of her son, she was in heart failure and needed open-heart surgery to remove a tumor in her heart. 

After recovering, Bowen looked back on the symptoms she had been experiencing throughout her life and realized how significant they really were. She has learned to pay close attention to her health and make sure to ask questions when symptoms arise.