SHELBY COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — National Wear Red Day brings awareness to heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for women in the United States.
The CDC reports only 56 percent of women are aware that heart disease is the leading cause in female deaths. Myocarditis is a viral infection that attacks the heart and is usually found in children. The CDC says it’s symptoms are; chest pains, shortness of breath and a fast-pounding heart.
Shelby County parents David and Annie Winans wished they would’ve known sooner to save their daughter Kristen’s life. In September 2012, David and Annie took Kristen to the hospital for the flu. Days later, doctors thought her fever had gone away. Unfortunately, they were wrong.
“The third trip back to the hospital, she didn’t make it,” David said. “She went in the ambulance and coded before they ever got there.”
It wasn’t until four months later when they got the autopsy report that they realized what Kristen died from.
“I’ve been on the volunteer fire service for 20 years and was a first responder,” David said. “And I’ve had some training and I blame myself. Why didn’t I pick up on it?
Annie wondered what they could’ve done differently.
“Me as her mother, I mean, why didn’t I see what was going on? She was sick. Why didn’t I catch that it wasn’t just the flu?” Annie said.
A year later, the Winans went to Florida for the first-ever family meeting for the Myocarditis Foundation. They found comfort in knowing they weren’t alone.
“We shared her story down there, made a lot of friends down there that we’re still in connection and contact with quite often to this day,” David said.
Now they want to continue to honor Kristen’s legacy by helping other families.
“We’ve tried to raise awareness and keep her memory alive of who she was, what she was. Also, try to get the awareness out there of ‘Hey, if you don’t feel right, go get checked out.'”