Why I’m Not Wearing Red for Heart Month

Macy's got on board with ACA. This is one example of many of corporations using heart month to help acquired heart disease.

Macy’s got on board with ACA. This is one example of many of corporations using heart month to help acquired heart disease.

We all know February is Heart Month.  I’ve seen so many people in the CHD community touting their red attire in support of their CHD warriors.  It’s awesome to see people taking action to try and raise awareness for the cause. The question is, are people outside our community getting the message?

February is heart month, our CHD efforts are in competition with acquired heart disease who have a huge head start on us. They have the machine in place to generate more articles, TV segments and to solicit the all important donor dollars. Acquired heart disease also has hugely successful campaigns like “Go Red For Women”.  So when we wear red are we achieving our goal of standing out? Or are we blending in causing our message to get lost?

I would never discourage someone from taking action.  If you want to wear red, go for it. Any awareness you can raise is fantastic. I would suggest you stand out by wearing RED and BLUE, the official colors of CHD.  And really emphasize the blue so people understand your efforts are different.

We can no longer afford to blend in. It’s time to stand out and really separate ourselves from acquired heart disease.  We should ask ourselves as a community. Is February really the best month for us to push our cause into the public conciseness?  It’s a discussion we really need to have. My answer is no.

Not only is the month dominated by acquired heart disease in every way, it is also African American Heritage Month. That means TV stations who might be willing to run Public Service Announcements for us have to share the limited time they have available with other important causes if they can squeeze us in at all. The same goes for pitching articles and trying to get on-air segments for national and local television programs.  All that time is limited and we are fighting an uphill battle to get CHD the coverage it deserves. Additionally, corporations are committing their money and support to other causes.  We are competing with Valentine’s Day too. There are a ton of stories being generated focused on V-day taking away  potential space for us.  National Heart Day is February 14th.  No one knows it outside our community because they are preoccupied with their significant other or lack there of.

By continuing to use February as our awareness month we get far less impact then we would in a month we really claimed as our own.  It’s already over saturated. We need to be different.  We need to be bold.  We need to stand on top of the hill and claim a month as ours so when we say why CHD is important people listen and take action to support it.  Is it January which already is national birth defect month? Is it November? Is it another month?  It’s time to start thinking outside the box and get CHD to the next level of awareness and funding. Let’s start the dialogue to get us there.

Comments

  1. Kristine Brite McCormick says:

    As always, a great thoughtful post. I have to admit, I got confused when I saw my news feed flood about people wearing red “for CHD” on the day the AHA has their “wear red for women day.” It wasn’t about CHD.

    I was perplexed when I joined the community (unwillingly like most of us), why CHD Awareness Week was just a week (most conditions with even less prevalence) have a “month.” I also thought it was confusing that it was heart month.

    However, it’s been so long-standing, I just don’t know if we can get everyone on board to change it now. I think our best bet is using every “month” that’s relative to spread the word, like January as you mentioned because it’s birth defect awareness month.

    This is also exactly why I started Newborn Heart Screening Awareness Day and made it in November, despite some questions from some of the community about another “day.” We sure as heck do need another day because we are blending in as you said.

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