MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A special event is planned this weekend to kick off American Heart Month, designed to help and educate heart patients, and created by a heart patient herself.
“I come from a family of heart disease. ranges from strokes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, enlarged hearts, all of that,” said heart patient LaTonya Duncan. So her first episode shouldn’t have been a surprise. But it was scary.
“Back in 2016, I experienced my first stroke, they call it a TIA, transient ischemic attack, in short, a mini-stroke,” Duncan explained. “I had numbness in my neck and my jaw and al down the side of my arm and I wasn’t able to hold anything, lift anything.”
Since then, LaTonya has been on a mission.
“The main thing when it comes to heart disease is knowing the signs and when your body is giving you hints about certain things, don’t ignore it, go ahead and get it checked.”To make sure more people know those signs, and more people get the care they need, she created an organization called “1 Heart”, providing financial help to cover medical costs for heart patients. She’s raising that money with a fashion show.
“Fashion is one of my biggest things, and I've always looked on TV and seen the Go Red for women fashion shows, and I don't think Montgomery has anything like that,” Duncan described her production as fashion with a focus, and a purpose.
“We were able to assist one recipient, who has severe issues with her heart,” Duncan described what 1 Heart did last year. “This year we're hoping to help anywhere between 3-5.”
Her primary goal is to send out a most important message. “Knowing your signs, educating yourself, watching what it is that you eat, exercise daily, and drink lots of water.”
This weekend’s fashion show will not just feature women but women’s signs and symptoms. Latonya’s husband also suffered a stroke. She’s become just as big of an advocate for men’s heart health since then. The fashion show is set for 3:00 p.m. Saturday at the Davis Theater downtown. Find more information on the organization’s Facebook page.